sweetgreen Bets on Kelp as New Superfood Trend
CULVER CITY, CA - Though culinary fads come and go, eating (deliciously) is forever. While kale, millennial pink chicory, celery, and even avocados have all shone brightly under consumer-powered trend spotlights, garnering unparalleled followings and showcasing the true excellence of the produce industry, the trend front has been quiet lately—too quiet. The usual roar of demand that accompanies these foodie movements is more of a gentle purr these days, leading us here at ANUK to suspect the time has come for a new superfood to fill our social media feeds and give us hive-minded consumers something to buzz about.
Though this space is seemingly empty, it won't be empty for much longer if the culinary team behind produce-centric fast casual eatery sweetgreen has anything to do with it. Pulling a new green god from one of the planet’s largest growing regions—the ocean!—the salad-forward chain is pitching kelp as 2020's foodservice menu icon.
“We’re trying to make kelp cool. Or cooler, I guess. We thought about what ingredients we can introduce to our customers—one of the ones we kept coming back around to [was] kelp,” sweetgreen Co-Founder Nicolas Jammet said to The Washington Post. “So 2020 for sweetgreen is the year of kelp.”
The superfood will be launched in sweetgreen’s new Tingly Sweet Potato and Kelp bowl. Though the chain is anticipating a new tide of fans to join the Kelp Wave, the bowl itself only features a quarter cup of kelp—the same amount as the tomatoes and cabbage, in order to introduce the unique item to skeptics slowly. A solid strategy if we ever saw one.
Kelp's entrance into the foodservice space this year is, in part, thanks to culinary tour-de-force and investor in sweetgreen, David Chang. With a similar strategy as the one mentioned above, Chang and his Momofuku team collaborated with sweetgreen to perfect this innovative menu item for any mainstream consumer.
“If something is delicious it will win out. It just has to go through this crucible of culture and fight through ignorance…but I don’t think anyone can force it,” Chang predicted.
What do you think? Will kelp be the next produce(-adjacent) item to make a major splash in the culinary canon? AndNowUKnow will continue to keep you alfoat amidst our industry's latest news.