Pizza Hut Was Once One of the Largest Kale Buyers in the U.S. — Here's the Strange Reason Why 

In 2012, Pizza Hut purchased about 12,000 lbs. of the leafy green, a spokesperson confirmed

Pizza Hut
Photo: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty

Pizza Hut might be known for its cheesy and doughy dishes but it was, at one time, the king of kale.

In a viral tweet posted on March 25, Iman Jalali (@Stealx) wrote, "Up until 2013, Pizza Hut was the largest buyer of kale in the US. They used it to decorate their salad bar." His tweet triggered waves of nostalgia for the since discontinued salad bar and plenty of conversation about the shocking fact of the Hut's leafy greens.

A Pizza Hut spokesperson spoke to TODAY about the fun kale fact. While they didn't verify Jalali's statement that the restaurant chain took the number one spot, they did offer some additional insight.

"It was actually used to cover up the ice that was used on the salad bar to keep everything cold. It was a common practice back then," the spokesperson noted, adding that the chain had not yet begun to use refrigerators to keep its salad bar offerings crisp.

The spokesperson noted that in 2012, the chain purchased almost 14,000 lbs. of kale in the United States, but admitted that they are "not sure how that compares to other restaurants"

The recent tweet is not the first time that this vegetable fact has gone viral. In 2015, an NPR game segment asked "True or false: before 2012, Pizza Hut was the largest purchaser of kale in the U.S., but they only used it as a garnish for their salad bars." The radio host said that this fact is true but did admit that this fun fact is difficult to verify.

Their kale consumption isn't the only fun Pizza Hut fact that brings back memories for diners. Perhaps its best-known program is its BOOK IT! Program, the nation's longest-running corporate-supported literacy program. Since 1984, the program has been dedicated to encouraging reading in schools nationwide, impacting more than 14 million students each year.

In any month from October through March, classroom teachers can set reading goals for their students. Those who meet those are rewarded with a Pizza Hut certificate good for a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza; and the classroom whose students read the most books is rewarded with a pizza party.

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