Foodies vs. Food Lovers – What’s the difference?

food lover foodie difference meaning definition

What is a foodie?  What is a food lover?  Is there even a difference?

In one word, “yes.”  There are distinct differences between foodies and food lovers, even though these terms are sometimes thrown around interchangeably to describe people with a strong affinity to food.


The definition of a foodie is: “a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.” Wikipedia.  In other words, foodies are hobbyists who actively pursue new and specific foods for fun, not to simply fill their bellies.

If you’re the type of eater who will go on a road trip or travel far distances just to try a specific dish or trendy food (and especially if you insist on taking photos of said food) you are very much a foodie. If you dedicate an entire vacation to enjoying all the best eats of that region, you are undoubtedly a foodie.

However, if you don’t relate to this, but still have a special place in your heart for food, one of the following descriptors may be better suited for you.

Food lovers

On the other hand, food lovers are people who simply love food.  “Food lover” is an all-encompassing term that includes food enthusiasts of all types, no matter what drives their interests.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has made it clear that he is a food lover, but not a foodie: “[I’m] somebody who wants the closest best burger. I admire and I’m jealous of some foodies’ culinary escapades but I’ve got five kids and I do stand-up every night, so I’m not somebody that can go out to dinner and go on these foodie adventures. I mean, I would like to, but I don’t even get to go out to dinner as much as I’d like.”  Do you love to eat food? You’re a food lover. It’s as simple as that.

Thus, a foodie is a type of food lover, but a food lover may not necessarily be a foodie. This can be seen in the same way that a basketball player is a type of athlete, but an athlete may not necessarily be a basketball player. So, if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, it’s completely accurate if you call yourself a food lover as well.

Food lovers come from all different backgrounds and cultures—and come in all shapes and sizes. It may be surprising to know that even some of the world’s fittest individuals consider themselves food lovers. In fact, the book The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food shares first-hand advice from some of the fittest people in the world on how they enjoy a food-filled life.

Other types of food lovers

Other related terms to describe those with a love or passion for food include: glutton, gastronome, gourmand, gourmet, bon vivant, and epicure. You can even find many of these as synonyms of each other in most thesauruses. However, they are not all exact substitutes.  The easiest way to distinguish these fans of food is in their level of refined taste. So, here’s an image to help visualize these terms from the least (outside) to most (inside) discriminating eating enthusiasts:

food lover foodie difference synonyms chart graph

Least Discriminating Tastes

food lover, gourmand, glutton, trencherman
bon vivant, bon viveur
foodie, food geek, food nerd
gourmet, gastronome, food connoisseur, epicure

Most Discriminating Tastes

Whether you define yourself as a foodie, food lover, or something else…you certainly enjoy life through your taste buds and know good food. So, make sure to treat yourself to some delicious eats regularly and, once in a while, maybe indulge in something special.

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Hello! I'm Kristina

Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.