Food History

Food History Overview

The history of food is as old as the history of man. For as long as man has existed, food has existed as well. Even the religious reference the availability of food from the time man was first created. Food history is a cross-cutting discipline. It borders on the records of economic, social, environmental and cultural impact of food and nutrition overtime. Food history examines the evolution of food from around the 5th century till date. How feeding before civilization depended solely on what was available and affordable in-season and how this has changed. It looks at how certain foods like rice and meat previously depicted statuses and were reserved solely for the highly placed while oats and rye were reserved for the poor. Hundreds of years later, rice has become one of the commonest staples with over 500 million metric tons consumed in 2021. The impact of livestock on the environment and long-term negative health effect of excessive meat consumption makes meat not so luxurious anymore. Additionally, the consumption of oats amongst the rich and poor alike has increased due to increasing knowledge of its nutritional benefits.
Food history has also witnessed technological advancement with biochemistry and food engineering availing scientists the opportunity to modify the genetic components of food for higher yields, environmental sustainability and nutritional benefits. The most recent impactful event in global food history is the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The food industry since the beginning of the war has witnessed a hike in the prices of agrochemicals and food items produced by both countries. This would not be the last event to affect global food history, however, it is the responsibility of stakeholders to foster adaptability of food systems to changes in whatever form they come. This is why Tengrain Science is building the capacity of stakeholders across the food supply chain to ensure availability of food all year round.