The United States has long been known as the world’s “melting pot.” According to cultural experts, a good way to gauge the contents of that melting pot is to simply look at the types of foods being imported on an annual basis.
They claim that ethnicity plays a huge role in America’s food basket, weighing heavily on everything from the local supermarket to the imported gourmet foods specialty store. If the increasing numbers of gourmet food outlets are any indication, our American melting pot is becoming more diverse on a regular basis.
The USDA tracks all of the various imported foods that come in the country every year. On their website, they provide tons of information collected and analyzed over the last several decades. Some of this information is rather fascinating. If you don’t count live farm animals, the number two place is given to cereals and bakery products. Rounding out the top five are vegetables, beverages, and vegetable oils.
Don’t forget meat and cheeses
The USDA statistics may surprise people due to the fact that we typically think of meats, cheeses, and chocolates when we think of imported gourmet foods. But the truth is that fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains have a much shorter shelf life and are consumed much more quickly. The more that’s consumed, the more that will need to be imported.
The ethnic component
Playing a large role in what drives food imports is the desire for America’s transplanted citizens to eat the kinds of foods they grew up within their native countries. This is clearly seen at any store that carries imported gourmet food and separates items by ethnicity. Looking at stores in your local area even gives you a good idea of the population density in terms of the various ethnicities.