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Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth. Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture. Today, most of the food energy consumed by the world population is supplied by the food industry, which is operated by multinational corporations that use intensive farming and industrial agriculture to maximize system output.

Almost all foods are of plant or animal origin. Cereal grain is a staple food that provides more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop. Maize, wheat, and rice - in all of their varieties - account for 87% of all grain production worldwide. Other foods not from animal or plant sources include various edible fungi, especially mushrooms. Fungi and ambient bacteria are used in the preparation of fermented and pickled foods like leavened bread, alcoholic drinks, cheese, pickles, kombucha, and yogurt. Another example is blue-green algae such as Spirulina. Inorganic substances such as baking soda and cream of tartar are also used to chemically alter an ingredient.

Traditionally, food was obtained through agriculture. With increasing concern in agribusiness over multinational corporations owning the world food supply through patents on genetically modified food, there has been a growing trend toward sustainable agricultural practices. This approach, partly fueled by consumer demand, encourages biodiversity, local self-reliance and organic farming methods. Major influences on food production include international organizations (e.g. the World Trade Organization and Common Agricultural Policy), national government policy (or law), and war. In popular culture, the mass production of food, specifically meats such as chicken and beef, has come under fire from various documentaries, most recently Food, Inc, documenting the mass slaughter and poor treatment of animals, often for easier revenues from large corporations. Along with a current trend towards environmentalism, people in Western culture have had an increasing trend towards the use of herbal supplements, foods for a specific group of person (such as dieters, women, or athletes), functional foods (fortified foods, such as omega-3 eggs), and a more ethnically diverse diet.

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