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A Journey to the Frontier of Food

Ever wonder what food in 2035 will look and taste like? Or what currently obscure vegetable, fruit, meat, ethnic or health food will a become grocery store staple in ten years? Or what yet-unseen technology will revolutionize the way people make or deliver food?

Last year, Josh Schonwald embarked on a quest to explore the food frontier. During a year-long immersion in the world of food innovation, the Chicago-based journalist will traverse the US and world, visiting farms and factories, labs, test-kitchens, restaurants and ranches, meeting with some of the food world's leading innovators — from crop scientists, food scientists, flavor chemists, food futurists and avant garde chefs to fish farmers, process engineers, appliance makers, and exotic fruit hunters.

Schonwald has three chief goals for his first book. First, he aims to give readers a look – and, whenever possible, taste – at the products-in-development, the ideas, the technologies, that could become The Next Big Thing in Food. Second, he wants give readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how innovation happens in the food world, providing insights into how new products are conceived, and why some succeed, while others fail. Third, he wants to introduce readers to the pioneers – the scientists, entrepreneurs, idealists, tastemakers – the larger-than-life individuals who are helping create the foods of the future.

"Who are the Clarence Birdseyes (the founder of frozen foods), the Luther Burbanks (the legendary horticulturalist who created hundreds of fruit varieties) the Percy Baron Spencers (inventor of the microwave) of today?" asks Schonwald. "This book is a search for the foods of the future, but it's equally a search for the people behind the foods of the future."

Schonwald first developed an interest in the world of food innovation in December of 2005.

While working as a reporter at the weekly, Miami New Times, he met Dr. Daniel Benetti, an aquaculture researcher who declared that he found "The Next Salmon" – a tropical marine fish that he said was more flavorful than Chilean sea bass, grows ten times faster than most fish, and would rival salmon in sales within five years. This bold claim about cobia – a fish that Schonwald had never heard of – inspired a feature story in the Miami weekly and ultimately triggered Schonwald's broader curiosity in the foods of future

"I started wondering… if Benetti is right, if cobia – a relatively unknown fish – could become the next salmon… Could there be others? A next lettuce? A next tomato? A next cow? It's those naïve questions that got me interested in exploring the world of food innovation."