Global Grocery

Paper bag filled with groceries

Have you ever wondered...

What gives chocolate it's flavor? Where olive oil comes from? What's in your cold medicine?

Biodiversity provides the ingredients in many things you eat and use every day. Some of these ingredients come from faraway lands, some from nearby places.

You might say that you've got the whole world in your shopping bag!

Click on a star to discover an ingredient that comes from biodiversity.

kitchen scene with many grocery products
olive tree

An ingredient in olive oil is...

Olive Tree

This Mediterranean tree can live for over 500 years, and produces little fruits called olives. The oil from the olives can be used in cooking, skin care products, and more.

world map with Europe highlighted

Origin: Europe

Did you know...

Olive branches have been used throughout time to symbolize peace?

cassava plant

An ingredient in tapioca pudding is...

Cassava Plant

This plant can grow in poor soil. In many countries, this root is a major ingredient for bread, soup, and other foods.

world mp with Asia highlighted

Origin: Asia

Did you know...

Most cassava roots need to be sliced, grated, washed, and pressed before they're safe to eat?

coffee beans

An ingredient in coffee is...

Coffee Beans

These bean-like seeds are found in pulpy fruit that have a thick outer skin and grow on coffee plants.

world map with Africa highlighted

Origin: Africa

Did you know...

Coffee mixed with chocolate is called mocha?

sesame seeds

An ingredient in bagels is...

Sesame Seeds

These seeds, which are only about one-eighth of an inch long, have no cholesterol and lots of protein and are found inside tiny plant pods along the stem.

world map with Africa highlighted

Origin: Africa

Did you know...

Sesame seeds pop out of the pod when it's ripe?

seaweed

An ingredient in ice cream is...

Seaweed

This aquatic plant can be a resting place for seabirds and provide shelter and a meal for small fish. Some types form large rafts that can cover massive areas over a thousand miles wide.

world map with oceans and seas highlighted

Origin: Oceans and seas around the world

Did you know...

Some seaweed can be used to make ice cream and toothpaste?

cinammon

An ingredient in cinnamon graham crackers is...

Cinnamon

Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of evergreen laurel trees. Pieces of bark that are higher up on the tree can be dried. Pieces of bark lower down can be ground into cinnamon powder.

world mp with Asia highlighted

Origin: Asia

Did you know...

Cinnamon is used in some perfume and oils?

willow tree

An ingredient in aspirin is...

Willow Tree

The tree's bark and leaves helped in the development of aspirin. The trees can grow more than 50 feet high and usually grow near water.

world map with North America highlighted

Origin: North America

Did you know...

Black willow wood was once used to make artificial limbs?

cacao beans

An ingredient in chocolate chip cookies is...

Cacao beans

These beans come from football-sized pods that sprout directly from tree trunks! They are hard as rock but have sweet insides filled with dozens of bean-like seeds, which are then fermented, dried, and roasted to make chocolate.

world map with South America highlighted

Origin: South America

Did you know...

Cacao beans were once used as money?

soybeans

An ingredient in soy sauce is...

Soybeans

This vegetable is a fuzzy plant, with large leaves and small flowers. It is crushed to get oil and also used as a protein source for livestock and human food.

world mp with Asia highlighted

Origin: Asia

Did you know...

Crayons are sometimes made from soybeans?

corn

An ingredient in corn flakes is...

Corn

These stalks are used to feed animals, and the kernels can be ground up to make food like tortillas, chips, and bread.

world map with North America highlighted

Origin: North America

Did you know...

Corn starch is used to make spark plugs, which help cars run?

ingredients-tamarind

An ingredient in worcestershire sauce is...

Tamarind Tree

This tree has brown pods that can grow up to 8 inches long with juicy insides. People have found uses for every part of this tree.

world map with Africa highlighted

Origin: Africa

Did you know...

Tamarind bark can be burned to make ink?

eucalyptus tree

An ingredient in cough drops is...

Eucalyptus Tree

This tree is not only a resting place for pythons and koalas, it also contains an ingredient that is used to help treat cold symptoms.

world map with Australia highlighted

Origin: Australia

Did you know...

A cough drop may have eucalyptus oil in it?

rice

An ingredient in rice is...

Rice

Rice comes from plants that grow in fields called paddies. The plant has long, pointed leaves and seeds that can be eaten. It has been used to make many things from thatch roofs to cosmetics.

world mp with Asia highlighted

Origin: Asia

Did you know...

About half the world's population eats rice in most of their meals?

ginger

An ingredient in gingerbread cookies is...

Ginger

This spice comes from the root of the ginger plant. It can be fried, chopped, boiled, pickled, dried, and squeezed to make juice.

world mp with Asia highlighted

Origin: Asia

Did you know...

People eat ginger to help fight nausea?

ephedra plant

An ingredient in cold medicine is...

Ephedra Plant

This plant has narrow, yellow-green branches, and can have poisonous cones that look like berries. Used in traditional medicine, it can be very dangerous if people misuse it.

world mp with Asia highlighted

Origin: Asia

Did you know...

Ephedra has been used to make medicine in Asia for thousands of years?

Image Credits:

Illustrations: Peter Spacek, Andy Levine