Known for being a convenient snack during hikes, the trail mix is one of the most popular types of snack mixes and are often interchanged. These usually contain granolas, any dried fruit, nuts, and even chocolate. Trail mixes are often consumed for the quick energy boost and are very convenient and lightweight.
The first official trail mix was said to be introduced and marketed to the public back in 1968. In their records at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, their trail mix includes raisins, processed sunflower seeds, processed pumpkin seeds, processed peanuts, processed cashews, processed almonds, salt and any of these oils: soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and almond oil.
- Trail mix has been eaten by Native Americans for thousands of years. It originally included buffalo meat.
- The trail mix combination of dried fruits, nuts, raisins and chocolate as a trail/hiking snack can be traced to the 1910s, when Horace Kephart, recommended this mix in his popular camping guide, “The Book of Camping and Woodcraft”
- In Australia and New Zealand, trail mix is called “scroggin or “schmogle.”
- Another term that the trail mix goes by: GORP. This acronym stands for two things: “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts” and “Granola, Oats, Raisins and Peanuts.”
Trail mixes have evolved since its original conception, from the usual mix of G.O.R.P to even rice crackers flavored croutons, peas, and more! It is reported to be one of the growing segments in the food industry, that it even registered a billion dollars in sales in 2016. The young adults are partly the key consumers.
It was also noted that trail mixes did better sales-wise when they are put at the produce section, as they are associated with fresh fruit and vegetables. They are looking at this trend as the buyers are shifting their eating habits, and adhering to healthier lifestyles.
Production & Farming in Texas
Producing wholesome and healthy food and snacks is one of the major cornerstones of some Texan brands. Which is why they make their own organic and all-natural unique mixes and tasty combinations, aside from the numerous brands that can be bought off the shelf.
Preservatives, additives, and Chemicals
An all-natural trail mix can be marketed as a healthy snack option with the nutritious combination of dried fruits and nuts. But questionable ingredients can creep up through the sugar-loaded fruits, chocolates, extra salty nuts, fried fruits, or tasty artificial flavorings which are often used in pre-packed or mass processed trail mixes. Here are some ingredients that you might see on the list:
- Corn Syrup – Corn syrup is a thick and gooey light syrup which is glucose that is extracted from corn. This is often used to make sweet and shiny sauces, and to add a creamier texture along with sugar. However, as this is still considered as a refined sweetener and contains empty calories, moderation in consuming products with corn syrup is advised.
- Soy lecithin – Lecithin is derived from many sources such as egg yolks, liver, peanuts, and most commonly in soy. It is usually used as an emulsifier, allowing oil and water to be mixed. It also helps extend shelf life and reduce the stickiness of the food. But while it may seem harmless, the controversy comes to how the lecithin is produced. Others still deem it as artificial since it is extracted using harsh chemicals, or it is derived from genetically modified soybean plants. So make sure to look for the “organic soy lecithin” label when you buy your food.
- Maltodextrin – a polysaccharide that is commonly added to packaged foods to improve its flavor, thickness, and shelf life. This white powdery substance can be derived from corn, however, it is highly processed, using acids or enzymes. Maltodextrin is considered by the US FDA to be a safe food additive and is counted in the total carbohydrate count in the food’s nutritional value. There are warnings that the maltodextrin may have a high glycemic index and might pose an issue for those with diabetes. But this substance is usually present in small amounts in food and therefore won’t have that much significant effect if taken moderately.
- Artificial Food Color – These make the food colors pop and look so much brighter and appetizing. However, there are some food colors and food dyes that have been banned from some countries as research findings have highlighted them to cause allergic reactions, tumors, and cancers. These banned food dyes are Blue 2, Green 3, Yellow 3, Yellow 6, and Red 3.
Trail mixes are often packed in sealed plastic pouches and stand-up bags. Some are also sold in bottles and jars to make it eco-friendly. But many prefer the resealable packs or smaller containers so they can be quick and handy, an emergency food stash and energy booster!
Trail mixes are best enjoyed as a packed snack option during hiking, camping or other outdoor activities. It can also be used as a mid-meal snack in the office or even at school to get you through the day with its quick nutrient and energy boost!
Trail mixes must be stored and packed in airtight containers to keep them fresh and crunchy and to keep them from going stale. Some say that it can last for about a year… if you don’t snack on all of them at once!
Mix your own Trail Mix!
One of the most popular chefs of The Food Network, Alton Brown, has published his easy-DIY trail mix recipe!
- 7oz. (or approximately 3 cups) dried fruit
- 5 oz. (or approximately 1 cup) mixed nuts
- 3 ½ oz. (approximately 1 cup) granola
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Store it in an airtight container. Make sure that the dried fruits should not be sticky and must not have any moisture on. And you are done!