Parents increasingly name their babies Kale, Kiwi, Saffron

Photo: Anna Bortnikova, Lakshmi3 (iStock)

The year I was born, Katherine was the 27th most popular girl’s name; my third-grade class had so many Katies and Caits in it that our last initials were forever fused to our first names. I can report there were zero Kales or Kiwis or Saffrons in my third-grade class—but that’s probably going to change in the coming years. Parenting website BabyCenter has released its list of the top baby names of 2018, and notes that food-inspired names including Kale, Kiwi, Saffron, Maple, and Sage are all on the rise.

Apparently, Gen Z and Millennial parents are choosing baby names in homage to healthy foods, but also because they just like the way those words sound.

“We’ve had two decades plus of ‘unique’ names, and anything goes. It’s not like the days when every other baby was named Jessica, Jason, or Jennifer,” Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s senior vice president of consumer experience, said in a press release.

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As girls’ names, Kale increased in popularity 35 percent; Kiwi increased 40 percent; Maple was up 35 percent; Saffron jumped by 31 percent; and Rosemary went up 20 percent. Only one food-inspired name increased among boys: Sage, which was up 15 percent.

These food-inspired names didn’t crack the top 10 most popular baby names. (The top two names overall for boys and girls were the decidedly not-grocery-sounding Jackson and Sophia.) But as BabyCenter noted, with parents searching for “unique” names, anything could be fodder: Video game Fortnite is thought to be responsible for the spike in babies named Rogue, Leviathan, Ramirez, and Bunny.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.