I can't quite figure out the differences between these two. I would guess that 食料 is only used in situations, where the only thing that matters is that the food is there or not there (As in, searching for food, gave food, need food)

I've only seen 食品 used in connection to the process of making, acquiring, selling and storing the food.

Am I on the right track here, or completely off?

  • Do you understand 料 and 品?
    – Earthliŋ
    Jun 18, 2013 at 13:26
  • 1
    Why not add 食糧 to the mix?
    – istrasci
    Jun 18, 2013 at 14:22
  • @Earthling , I'm not sure I know difference of the two. Jun 18, 2013 at 15:21
  • 2
    「食料品」なんてものもある・・・ nvm, なんでもない。。。
    – user1016
    Jun 18, 2013 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


You are on the right track. They are almost the same meaning, however 食品 is generally used for manufacturer products or food that consumers buy (the end product) (商品). 食料, as implied by the 料, implies the base materials, i.e. the stuff used to make 食品. Also, note that 食料 does not include 主食 (which is an important concept in Japan), while 食糧 is generally used to mean 主食 (rice, wheat, etc.).

  • I'm not quite sure I follow. Do you mean that 食料 means the ingredients used to make food, homemade food or something else? Jun 18, 2013 at 23:31
  • 4
    The ingredients for a particular dish are usually 材料. 食料 are the basic ingredients you have in your house without thinking of them as ingredients for a particular recipe (e.g. flour, eggs, oil, etc.), basically anything you can use to prepare food. (食品 is "prepared" food already, like cheesecake or a BLT sandwich.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Jun 19, 2013 at 0:04
  • 1
    食料 can be a food and the ingredients to make food. 食料 simply doesn't imply the aspect of food as a commodity
    – Jesse Good
    Jun 19, 2013 at 6:44
  • @JesseGood So just to be sure here. A cake that I made, at home, in my kitchen. This cake, would it be defined as 食料 or 食品? Jun 19, 2013 at 12:23
  • 食料 (but just keep in mind 食べ物 would be the preferred more generally way).
    – Jesse Good
    Jun 19, 2013 at 19:48

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