Foodstuffs are generally of animal or plant (and occasionally of fungal or algal) origin. Because humans evolved from hunter-gatherers, most original food products were animal and plant materials provided by nature which had been subjected, at best, to minimal processing such as peeling, butchering, and/or roasting over an open fire. Later, preservatives such as NaCl and smoking came to be used. The most important development in food production occurred at the dawn of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution starting about 11 500 years ago. The domestication of plants and animals led to more predictability in the food supply and, eventually, to small-scale food processing. This article on Food Products and Ingredients in the Reference Module in Food Science includes coverage of all the above areas and will prove useful to industry professionals, researchers, and students of food science.

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