Food or Foods? What Is the Plural of Food?

It’s acceptable to use either “food” or “foods” to demonstrate the plural form of the singular “food.” But, the context and usage are what will determine the difference in proper grammar. This means, that even though both are plural, there are certain situations where using one or the other may sound a little strange.

However, to be on the safe side of things, you should always go with “foods” when in doubt. This is because “food” isn’t necessarily a countable noun as say apples, peaches and bananas are. We tend to use “foods” when we imply the different types of food that exist and “food” when we just mean “food” in general. 

About Countable versus Uncountable Nouns

A countable noun means you can give an object a definite unit, measurement, or metric. An uncountable noun can be either plural or singular. “Food” fits this definition like other words such as information, furniture, and water, among others.

This means we can’t assign a numeric value to uncountable words because it doesn’t serve the proper function in English. In regards to grammar, you will write “food” in accordance with singular agreement rules. This can be for singular suggestion or it is indicative of plurality. Or, at least it can infer plurality.

For example, you wouldn’t really say: “I have five foods.” This is technically correct usage and grammar, but it doesn’t feel or sound correct. You would be more specific: “I have some food. There are two peaches, two apples, and one banana.”

The Plural of “Food”; “Foods”

Consider the examples below to see how “food” can be both plural and singular:

Singular: The healthiest food is delicious and has fewer calories. [indicative of plurality]
Plural: The healthiest foods are delicious and have fewer calories. [directly plural]

Singular: Food high in vitamin C is good for illnesses, including cold and flu. [indicative of plurality]
Plural: Foods high in vitamin C are good for illnesses, including cold and flu. [directly plural]

Singular: Food for dinner tonight includes beef wellington, potatoes au gratin and some carrots. [indicative of plurality]
Plural: Foods for dinner tonight include beef wellington, potatoes au gratin and some carrots. [directly plural]


Since both “food” and “foods” are an acceptable plural form of the singular form of “food,” there’s really not much to remember. When you want to place a numeric value to show the amount of food, then you will have to be more specific to demonstrate the types of foods you’re talking about.