Globalization having little effect on food choices

Walk through the produce aisle in a grocery store nearly anywhere in North America, and you are likely to find imported fruits and vegetables alongside numerous domestic favorites. While the variety of foods available is striking, diets of people living in temperate areas are still considerably less diverse than those living in the tropics, where more genetically diverse species are produced and consumed, according to a news release from the University of Minnesota.

Results of a new study published in the Oct. 5 edition of the journal PLOS ONE show that the impact of globalization is less than expected when it comes to the food we grow and eat. As it turns out, what you eat depends largely on where you live. The study is the result of an ongoing collaboration between biologists and economists from several universities through the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland.

“The diversity of the food we eat hasn’t changed as much as we expected it would with globalization,” said study co-author Jeannine Cavender-Bares, an associate professor in the University of Minnesota’s department of ecology, evolution and behavior who led the working group together with University of Minnesota Regents professor Stephen Polasky. Both are fellows at the Institute on Environment. “We still tend to tend to eat based on the biodiversity around us, even though we could eat anything,” she added.

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