How cauliflower cauli-flourished

Sales of the humble brassica are skyrocketing, and everybody wants a piece of the cauliflower pie.

It’s bland. It stinks when cut and cooked. And it’s now the hottest commodity in the produce aisle.

It’s cauliflower, baby. US sales of raw cauliflower and cauliflower-adjacent foods hit $700m last year, up almost 40% from 2016.

Why? Low-carb diets have cauli-powerful appeal

Cauliflower is the veggie equivalent of a blank canvas, and it’s low in carbs. So many amateur chefs are getting keto-curious that cauliflower items could fill an entire grocery aisle. There’s:

  • Cauliflower rice. (Ever wanted to STAB YOUR DAMN CUTTING BOARD because your knife sent freakin’ cauli crumbs everywhere? No wonder the bagged stuff is popular.)
  • Cauliflower crust. (A picky pie-lover’s delight or a crime against , depending on your POV.)
  • Actual cauli-flour. (Do. Not. Want.)
  • “Hidden” cauliflower smoothies. (You can hide the cauliflower, but you can’t hide the shame.)
  • Cauliflower ear. (Wait, no, that’s a wrestling injury.)

The trend is so strong that entire companies have popped up around the booming demand. You can declare your love of cauli-zza by wearing it on your chest, or join a curious campaign to create the caul-emoji. 

Chipotle’s CEO said recently that the fast-food chain wants to make “the world’s greatest cauliflower rice.”

Caul it the ‘flower’s edge

Occasional shortages have sent the price of a head skyrocketing, but farmers say cauliflower takes far less time to grow than other veggies, like tomatoes or peppers (about a month, vs. 70-100 days).

Cauliflower is even starting to sprout into Super Bowl-munchies territory. One pizza chain in the Northeast told The Wall Street Journal that cauliflower-crust pizzas account for 25% of all its pie sales.

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