How the World's Most Popular Foods Have Traveled All Over the Planet

  • 2016-10-18
  • The Independent

From the grains in your breakfast cereal to the grapes in your wine, there’s a strong chance that the food you eat on a daily basis has its ancient origins thousands of miles away. A major new study, the collaborative effort of more than a dozen researchers around the world, suggests that countries rely on crops that originally came from other parts of the globe — and the interconnections among global food systems are only continuing to grow.

It’s well known that many foods popular in certain countries didn’t actually originate there but were in fact carried over by travelers or traders at some point. The tomato, for instance — which is commonly associated with Italy — actually originated in the Americas. And the same is true of the potato, which later became a staple in Ireland. But what’s been unclear up until this point is exactly how much moving around all of the world’s crops have done over the centuries and how heavily different countries now rely on foods that didn’t actually originate within their borders.