June 20, 2022 – “I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
That was what then-President George H.W. Bush said in 1990, famously declaring his hatred for the tree-like cruciferous vegetable.
Turns out, Americans in 2022 do not agree.
In the new Green Giant “Favorite Veggie” survey of 5,321 American consumers, broccoli was the vegetable of choice in 29 states, including Iowa, the country’s No. 1 producer of corn. Broccoli maintained its favorite veggie crown from last year’s survey.
Americans in the survey also expressed their love of other veggies, including carrots, potatoes, asparagus, and corn, with corn getting 37% more popular from 2021. And, while it is famous for being reviled by children, 68% of parents said their kids found broccoli pleasing to the palate.
The survey aligns with recent trends showing broccoli consumption increasing dramatically over the last 35 years. Americans now consume, on average, 7.1 pounds of the leafy stalks per capita yearly, compared to 1.4 pound per capita in 1980.
Don’t Like Broccoli? It May Have Something to Do With Genetics
But broccoli is not uniformly liked. Some describe it as bitter. Some people have a certain variation in a gene known as TAS2R38 that can trigger a heightened perception of glucosinolates, the bitter compounds within broccoli.
“We’re talking a ruin-your-day level of bitter,” Jennifer L. Smith, PhD., told the American Heart Association in 2019.
Mini Trees for Your Health
Love it or hate it, there is no denying broccoli’s nutritional benefits. It’s packed with calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Along with vitamin B12, D, E, and K, one cup of broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange. And broccoli is one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section.
Studies have shown the veggie also contains naturally occurring chemicals, including sulforaphane, that may protect against cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and schizophrenia.