McDonald’s is planning to add kale to its menu this year, according to analysts at Janney Capital Markets.
The leafy green vegetable could be used in salads or smoothies, says analyst Mark Kalinowski, citing an unnamed source.
The addition of kale would come as a surprise, considering McDonald’s anti-kale sentiment in an ad the company released earlier this year.
The ad shows close-up shots of a Big Mac and pokes fun at foodies and vegetarians.
“You can’t get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa,” the ad’s narrator chides. “Nor will this ever be kale,” he adds as the camera zooms in on the lettuce in a Big Mac sandwich.
McDonald’s is reportedly adding kale as the company struggles to improve consumers’ perception of its food.
“Adding kale to the menu in some way could help be a step in this direction,” Kalinowski writes. We reached out to McDonald’s for comment and will update when we hear back.
Kale consumption in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years.
The number of farms harvesting the leafy green plant more than doubled from 954 in 2007 to 2,500 in 2012, according to Department of Agriculture data.
By comparison, the number of farms harvesting spinach and romaine lettuce in 2012 was 1,594 and 1,537, respectively.
Kale is most prevalent in California, where 390 farms harvested 1,680 acres of kale in 2012, followed by Georgia, New Jersey, and Texas.
The vegetable started gaining popularity in the U.S. about five years ago. The vegetable now appears on 400% more restaurant menus than it did five years ago, according to USA Today.
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