Food and drinks – these are just two of the most important things in our lives. After all, without eating or drinking anything, we wouldn’t be able to survive.

In this article, we delve into the world of food and beverages – from its meaning, the food and drinks industry, what food and drinks go well together, the most popular food and drinks in the world, and more!

Food and Drinks Meaning

By definition, food refers to any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It can be raw, processed, or formulated and is consumed orally by animals for growth, health, or pleasure. Food is mainly composed of water, lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. Minerals (e.g. salts) and organic substances (e.g. vitamins) can also be found in food.

Food can be classified in various ways, either by related content or by how the food is processed. The number and composition of food groups can vary. Most systems include four basic groups that describe their origin and relative nutritional function: Vegetables and Fruit, Cereals and Bread, Dairy, and Meat. Studies that look into diet quality often group food into whole grains/cereals, refined grains/cereals, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy products, fish, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization use a system with nineteen food classifications: cereals, roots, pulses and nuts, milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, meat, insects, vegetables, fruits, fats and oils, sweets and sugars, spices and condiments, beverages, foods for nutritional uses, food additives, composite dishes, and savory snacks.

Most food has its origin in plants. Some food is obtained directly from plants, but even animals that are used as food sources are raised by feeding them food derived from plants. Cereal grain is a staple food that provides more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop. Corn (maize), wheat, and rice – in all of their varieties – account for 87% of all grain production worldwide. Most of the grain that is produced worldwide is fed to livestock.

Some foods not from animal or plant sources include various edible fungi, especially mushrooms. Fungi and ambient bacteria are used in the preparation of fermented and pickled foods like leavened bread, alcoholic drinks, cheese, pickles, kombucha, and yogurt. Another example is blue-green algae such as Spirulina. Inorganic substances such as salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar are used to preserve or chemically alter an ingredient.

On the other hand, a drink (or beverage) is a liquid intended for human consumption. In addition to their basic function of satisfying thirst, drinks play important roles in human culture. Common types of drinks include plain drinking water, milk, juice, and soft drinks. Traditionally warm beverages include coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Caffeinated drinks that contain the stimulant caffeine have a long history.

In addition, alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, and liquor, which contain the drug ethanol, have been part of human culture for more than 8,000 years. Non-alcoholic drinks often signify drinks that would normally contain alcohol, such as beer, wine, and cocktails, but are made with a sufficiently low concentration of alcohol by volume. The category includes drinks that have undergone an alcohol removal process such as non-alcoholic beers and de-alcoholized wines.

Food and Drinks Industry

The food and drink industry includes all companies involved in processing raw food materials, packaging, and distributing them. This includes fresh, prepared foods as well as packaged foods, and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Any product meant for human consumption, aside from pharmaceuticals, passes through this industry.

The food and beverage industry also includes restaurants, cafés, fast-food joints, cafeterias, pubs, delis, food manufacturing operations, food transportation services, catering businesses, and more. Work in this industry can range from packaging to preparing, transporting, and serving food or beverages.

Food and Drinks Companies

Below are some of the top food and drinks companies in the world (in no particular order):

  • Nestlé. Nestlé S.A. is a Swiss multinational food and drinks processing conglomerate corporation headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. It is the largest food company in the world, measured by revenue and other metrics, since 2014.
  • JBS S.A. is a Brazilian company that is the largest meat processing company in the world, producing factory processed beef, chicken, and pork, and also selling by-products from the processing of these meats. It is headquartered in São Paulo. It was founded in 1953 in Anápolis, Goiás. 
  • Tyson Foods. Tyson Foods, Inc. is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork after JBS S.A. and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States. 
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, commonly known as AB InBev, is a multinational drink and brewing company based in Leuven, Belgium. AB InBev has a global functional management office in New York City, and regional headquarters in São Paulo, London, St. Louis, Mexico City, Bremen, Johannesburg, and others. 
  • Starbucks Corporation. Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves headquartered in Seattle, Washington. As the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks is seen to be the major representation of the United States’ second wave of coffee culture. 
  • Kraft Heinz Company. The Kraft Heinz Company, commonly known as Kraft Heinz, is an American food company formed by the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz. Co-headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
  • Mondelez International. Mondelez International, Inc., often stylized as Mondelēz, is an American multinational confectionery, food, holding, and beverage and snack food company based in Chicago, Illinois. Mondelez has an annual revenue of about $26 billion and operates in approximately 160 countries. 
  • The Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company is a multinational beverage corporation incorporated under Delaware’s General Corporation Law and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The Coca-Cola Company has interests in the manufacturing, retailing, and marketing of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups, and alcoholic beverages.
  • Kellogg Company. The Kellogg Company, doing business as Kellogg’s, is an American multinational food manufacturing company headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States. 
  • Heineken N.V. is a Dutch multinational brewing company, founded in 1864 by Gerard Adriaan Heineken in Amsterdam. As of 2019, Heineken owns over 165 breweries in more than 70 countries. It produces 348 international, regional, local, and specialty beers and ciders and employs approximately 85,000 people.

Most Popular Food and Drinks

Now that you know some of the leading food and drinks companies, it’s time to know which food and drinks are most popular in the world.

  • No list of the most popular food in the world can be complete without the inclusion of pizza. Pizza is an Italian dish consisting of a usually round, flattened base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients, which is then baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven. A small pizza is sometimes called a pizzetta.
  • Water is the most popular drink in the world. This is such a simple beverage, and yet no one can survive without it. This is why people have invented different water treatment systems, to ensure everyone around the world can have clean and safe water to drink. Water is also the main ingredient in most of the beverages that are consumed around the world.
  • Sushi is Japan’s most famous culinary representative, typically made with rice and fillings which have been rolled inside a sheet of dry seaweed. However, its popularity has reached all over the world. Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish of prepared vinegared rice, usually with some sugar and salt, accompanied by a variety of ingredients, such as seafood, often raw, and vegetables. Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the one key ingredient is “sushi rice”, also referred to as shari, or sushi. 
  • After water, tea is the most popular drink in the world. Tea is made by pouring hot water over cured tea leaves. This popular beverage can be enjoyed hot or cold and can bring different health benefits. Tea plants mostly grow in Asia, but tea is enjoyed in many countries around the world. 
  • A quintessential American food, burger evolved from the German Deutsches beefsteak, according to the New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton. Its other name (hamburger) is a result of the fact that many German immigrants originally came from the port of Hamburg. A hamburger is a food, typically considered a sandwich, consisting of one or more cooked patties—usually ground meat, typically beef—placed inside a sliced bread roll or bun. The patty may be pan-fried, grilled, smoked or flame-broiled. 
  • Coffee beans are produced in at least 70 countries around the world, and many people drink coffee several times a day. It is mostly enjoyed hot, but iced coffee is also very popular, especially in the summer. Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. From the coffee fruit, the seeds are separated to produce a stable, raw product: unroasted green coffee. 
  • Pasta is not just one of the most consumed foods in the world, it’s also one of the most accessible. Pasta is a type of food typically made from an unleavened dough of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs and formed into sheets or other shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking.
  • Orange Juice. Orange juice is the most popular of all fruit juices. Orange juice is a liquid extract of the orange tree fruit, produced by squeezing or reaming oranges. It comes in several different varieties, including blood orange, navel oranges, valencia orange, clementine, and tangerine. Many people enjoy buying orange juice that is made from concentrate, but some prefer squeezing fresh oranges to make their own orange juice. This delicious beverage is a high source of vitamin C.

What Food and Drinks Go Together

Now that you know some of the most popular food and drinks in the world, the next question is: “What food and drinks taste good together?”

Listed below are some of the best food and drink pairings you can try:

  • Beef + Red Wine

Pairing red wine with food is all about finding one of the 4 basic tastes – sweet, salty, sour, or bitter – in a dish and finding a wine that fits with it, either by having similar qualities or by contrasting them properly. Red wine is commonly paired with beef and for a good reason. For instance, cabernet sauvignon is a very bold wine with flavors of plum, cherry, black currant, and spice. The boldness of the cabernet pairs perfectly with rich, dark meats.

For a delicious pairing, try a flavorful cabernet with some braised beef short ribs and grilled vegetables. In fact, you can even use cabernet in your short rib recipe for the ultimate pairing experience. If you’re not a fan of the cabernet sauvignon, you might also try a merlot or pinot noir with your beef dish.

  • Sandwiches + Orange Juice

Citrus flavors have a wide breadth of acidity levels. Because of this, it often pairs well with simple dishes. Orange juice will pair with eggs, or poultry with simple ingredients. These complementary flavors will bring out the best in both the juice and the dish. Orange juice is best paired with sandwiches like an Egg Sandwich, Chicken Sandwich, or a BLT to balance out the citrus taste of orange and the savory taste of the sandwich.

  • Seafood + White Wine

Today, white wine is paired with many other dishes, but it has traditionally been paired with fish and other kinds of seafood. Chardonnay is a popular white wine that comes in a variety of different flavor profiles. It’s typically a little sweeter than a dry pinot grigio, for example, and tastes amazing with seafood.

Looking for a great dish to go with your chardonnay? Pair it with a mild cheddar for a light first bite! Oysters or crab cakes make a great appetizer pairing, and you can follow that with the main course of fish or shrimp. Pasta with a light cream sauce can be served as a side dish or as part of the main entrée. If you’re not a fan of chardonnay, a light sauvignon blanc or a dry riesling also would match well with seafood dishes.

  • Donuts + Coffee

An iconic food to pair with coffee is the donut. Donuts come in many shapes that can range from plain to decked out with all sorts of sprinkles, icings, and glazes. In all cases, the sweetness of a good donut can perfectly offset a cup of coffee, especially one made more on the milky side. Coffee and doughnuts are a common food and drink pairing and are often consumed as a simple breakfast. It is also a popular combination in cafes and doughnut shops.

How to Order Food and Drinks

Today, there are various ways you can get your favorite food and drinks. You can simply go to your favorite restaurant or café, order it, and consume it on site. Or, you can easily have it delivered straight to your doorstep using food delivery apps like Foodpanda, GrabFood, MetroMart, and Pickaroo to name a few.