'Food' or 'Foods': What is the Plural of Food?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on October 31, 2022

When it comes to forming the plural version of the word food, you might not know exactly how to approach this. But this article will cover that and teach you how to use the singular and plural forms in a sentence with ease.

To keep it short, the plural form of the word ‘food’ is ‘foods.’ It is the only acceptable plural version of the word.

What is the Plural of Food

As you learned above, the plural form of ‘food’ is ‘foods.’ Even though that might sound incorrect even to native English speakers, that’s the correct plural form of the word.

Food vs. Foods: What’s the Difference

You know that both ‘food’ and ‘foods’ are both correct forms of the word to use. But what’s the difference?

The difference is that ‘food’ is the singular version of the word, and ‘foods’ is the plural version, meaning you’re talking about more than one type of food.

Is it ‘food’ or ‘foods’?  

To know whether to use ‘food’ or ‘foods,’ you’d need to understand the function of the word ‘foods.’ So, when is it appropriate to use each?

When referring to one type of food, you’d use ‘food.’

When referring to more than one type of food, you’d say ‘foods.’

Standard Pluralization Rules

The standard rule for making plural nouns in English is to add an ‘s’ or ‘es.’ Such as with the following words:

  • Bird > Birds
  • Chair > Chairs
  • Watch > Watches
  • Tux > Tuxes
  • Latch > Latches

But some words don’t follow these rules. That’s certainly the case for some words that end in ‘f’ or ‘fe.’ With words ending in ‘f’ or ‘fe,’ you’d remove the ‘f’ or ‘fe’ and add a ‘ves.’

Take a look at some examples:

  • Wife > Wives
  • Life > Lives
  • Knife > Knives
  • Calf > Calves
  • Leaf > Leaves

The word ‘food’ does and doesn’t follow that rule. Because while it’s correct to use ‘food’ to mean more than one food, it’s also correct to say ‘foods’ if you mean more than one type.

For example, if you’re eating food for Thanksgiving, you’d obviously be eating more than one food.

But you probably wouldn’t say, “I’m eating lots of foods for Thanksgiving,” even though that’s technically correct. Instead, you’d say, “I’m eating lots of food,” which is also correct.

You might also say, “We’re making different foods.”

Definition and Meaning

 The Merriam-Webster definition of the word is: “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy,” “inorganic substances absorbed by plants in gaseous form or in water solution,” “nutriment in solid form,” and “something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies.”

The Britannica furthers the definition by saying: “The absorption and utilization of food by the body is fundamental to nutrition and is facilitated by digestion. Plants, which convert solar energy to food by photosynthesis, are the primary food source.”

Using ‘Food’ and ‘Foods’ in a Sentence

Using the singular form of the word in a sentence is pretty easy for most people, but using ‘foods’ in a sentence correctly can be a bit tricky.

Here’s how you’d use ‘food’ in a sentence:

  • I love the Chinese food we ordered earlier – it was delicious!
  • My mom is making all the food for Thanksgiving this year.
  • I don’t like leftover food; I’d prefer to eat it only once.

Here’s how to use ‘foods’ correctly in a sentence:

  • I had Ethiopian, Mexican, and Indian foods all in one night.
  • I don’t think I’ve tasted foods from so many places all at one time.
  • Some of my favorite foreign foods are Moroccan and Greek.

Singular and Plural Possessive Forms

The singular possessive form of ‘food’ is ‘food’s.’ The plural possessive of the word is ‘foods.’

Check out some examples of how to use the singular possessive form in a sentence:

  • The food’s color was not appetizing at all.
  • The food’s texture was just as bad.
  • The food’s lumpiness was unmistakable.

Let’s take a look at how to use the plural possessive form in a sentence:

  • The Chinese, Mexican, and Italian foods’ smell was intoxicating.
  • The Indian food and the Ethiopian foods’ texture were similar.
  • Her foods’ scent wafted throughout the house as she cooked dinner.

Final Thoughts on ‘Food’ and ‘Foods’

Now that you know what the word means, how to pluralize it, and how to use it in a sentence, you should have no trouble using it correctly in your everyday life.

Words like fish and series are just as confusing to some people.

Of course, if you ever get stuck again, you can always come back to our confusing words library to help you get back on track.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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