The First Mention Of Trail Mix Appeared In A 1906 Camping Guide

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When you think of quick grab-and-go snacks that don't need to be refrigerated, keep you full, and vary in flavor and texture, trail mix may be one of the best options available. It's no surprise that America is a definitive country of snackers. Based on a recent global survey by YouGov, 65% of Americans admitted to snacking between meals. Among the most popular snacks, Statista notes 50% of Americans regularly eat nuts while 31% consume dried fruit.

Popular snacks may come and go but the growing demand for nutritional snack foods is on the upswing. Based on Mondel─ôz International's 2021 state of snacking report in conjunction with The Harris Poll, among thousands of consumers across 12 countries, the definitive factor in choosing the right snack comes down to the fulfillment of nutritional needs.

While there may be a plethora of healthy snacks to get you through the workday, for some, nothing matches the succinct blend of fruits and nuts provided in trail mix. Not only does this snack typically appeal to both your sweet and salty taste buds, but Healthline claims the energizing blend of nuts, oats, and fruit is a good source of protein and healthy fats. If you're a trail mix fan, you may be curious about where it originated. Hence the term "trail" in the title, this popular snack was birthed from a suggestion in one long ago camping guide.

The history of trail mix

The Iowa National Heritage Foundation claims humans have been combining foods into a "trail mix" of sorts since the hunters and gatherers in nomadic tribes mixed fruits with meat for extensive journeys. The Nibble states the first semblance of the trail mix we know and love today may have come from an 1833 citation in Denmark surrounding a popular snack food called student oats or "studenterhavre." This European mixture mainly contained raisins and almonds with occasional chocolate pieces added during the holidays.

According to Gear Patrol, the next mention of trail mix in print form wasn't noted until the early 1900s in Horace Kephart's book "The Book of Camping and Woodcraft," which was originally published in 1906. The author states "a handful each of shelled nuts and raisins, with a cake of sweet chocolate, will carry a man far on the trail, or when he has lost it."

While REI CO OP claims one character in Jac Kerouac's 1958 novel "The Dharma Bums" snacked on an assortment of fruit and nuts, GORP which is a fancy acronym for good old raisins and peanuts was supposedly coined by two California surfers in 1968. Harmony foods successfully gained rights to the term "trail mix" and marketed the nut and seed mix toward hikers and campers in the late '60s. While this veritable snack has come a long way, there are now countless easy trail mix recipes for snacking on the go. Moreover, how has trail mix evolved since the 1960s?

The ever-growing popularity of trail mix

According to National Today, trail mix has garnered so much popularity that it has its own day of celebration on August 23rd. Many Americans love this beloved snack due to its convenience, overall simplicity, and general makeup that most snackers, over time, have come to expect. In some cases, trail mix has even evolved into the ideal cocktail party snack, but more and more people are jumping aboard the trail mix train out of ease and the supposed health benefits associated with fruit and nut consumption.

The trail mix market research report (via Technavio), indicates the commercialized trail mix market will only grow in the coming years due to consumers' desire for healthier grab-and-go snacks. Produce Business showcases how certain companies are already responding to this want by creating resealable packaging and formulating mixes without added sugars and flavors.

Yet, if you want the healthiest available option, Healthline suggests making your own mix at home. While some of the healthier mix-ins include sunflower seeds, popcorn, and cashews, you can also add the likes of peanut butter chips, pistachios, granola, and banana chips. Whichever way you prefer to enjoy this sweet and salty snack, perhaps find some time to hit a wooded path or two with your favorite mix tucked away in your pockets. After all, what is trail mix without a nice scenic trail?