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The next big thing in food will drive you wild!

A look at the wild food trend and how it will pop up in the supermarket aisles

In the food world, we are always on the lookout for the next big trend. For a while, when people have asked me that question, I have found myself without an answer. Until now.

As I listed to Jo Robinson talk about her new book, Eating on the Wild Side: the Missing Link to Optimum Health, it hit me that this just might be the next big thing in food. When I visited the farmer’s market last week, I couldn’t help but notice the vendors growing wild leeks, purslane and dandelion greens. It seems that the foodies have stumbled upon a new facet of healthy eating.

Wild isn’t a new term; consumers have been trained to look for wild salmon for environmental reasons and some might even favour the flavour of wild blueberries. The grass fed trend has been steadily growing as consumers look for healthier animal products and the heirloom produce movement set out to introduce new flavours and improve crop diversity. What’s new is that the argument for wild food applies to everything – and it’s a matter of nutrition.

The argument is that as we have selectively bred many of our common foods, we have deselected much of the nutrition originally intended. Many highly nutritious foods are bitter, sour or astringent in flavour while our natural predilection is for sweet foods. As we discovered naturally milder varietals and focused on their cultivation, we have wound up with less healthful fare. Did you know that red onions are more nutrient-dense than yellow onions, and sweet onions are the least nutritious of them all? In fact, the green parts of scallions are the most similar to wild onions – making them one of the new rock stars in the wild nutrition world.

Consider wild food the evolution of the heirloom produce or ancient grains trend. What modern foods will wild food foragers be looking for in the aisles?

Here are just a few, according to Jo Robinson:

- canned tomatoes

- green onions

- multicoloured corn

- arugula

- fresh herbs

- purple grapes

- sweet potatoes

- purple carrots

- grass-fed milk and dairy products

- eggs from pastured chickens

- grass fed/grass finished meats

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