Up With Spinach

Spinach Today in the food press, another one of the occasional stories noting the enormous growth in the spinach category – 66% from 1992 to 2002. If you’re not a close observer of the produce industry, the reasons for this are 1) bagged salad and 2) flat-leaf/baby spinach.

This is inspirational to everyone I know in produce, I think – it’s real proof that if you make something that’s healthy easy for people to do, they will do it. Until we get everyone’s minds changed about how easy it actually is to eat a healthy, fruit and vegetable-rich diet (we’ll be a while at that), packaged produce is where we can make the most impact to start.

This reminds me of one of my favorite studies I’ve seen, one that replaced the near-crunchy-water-and-nothing-else iceberg lettuce in fast-food sandwiches with spinach and found that consumers couldn’t tell the difference. What a great way to get more nutrients into people. Since then, Subway has added baby spinach to its menu.

Annual per capita consumption of spinach is now 2.4 lbs. per person, according to the USDA. I think my consumption is probably around four times that, hopefully making up for how badly I’m doing on my per capita consumption of soda, hot dogs and pizza.

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