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Last year was big for one of our favorite leafy greens. Global spinach consumption shot up to the highest levels ever, with 32 million tonnes of the greens consumed. Spinach imports to the U.S. in 2020 were more than 20 percent higher than 2019, according to a new report published by IndexBox. At least we were eating our spinach salads while riding out quarantine.
“Rising demand for healthy produce from the growing global population will continue to be the main driver for the market. Expanding demand for nutritious foods will especially propel the market for organic spinach,” the report’s abstract notes.
Also at play could be the nutritional pay-off of spinach consumption and, in particular, its density of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene. Those are all associated with boosting immune systems – something a lot of us were thinking about amid the pandemic.
Herbivoracious appetites aren’t the only thing driving the green rush, though. There is also some recent research that suggests spinach could be used to make a key component of metal-air batteries, a more energy efficient alternative to lithium-ion.
A late-2020 FDA warning about potentially salmonella-contaminated spinach does not seem to have been a significant factor in overall sales.