I have two sections where I differentiate between "types" of foods: powder and small foods. I want a replacement for "small foods" with a single word the represents foods where they are small items which make up a larger group of the food (think nuts, candies, fruits, etc.).

Specifically, what are the elements within a group of the small foods called? In a handful of almonds, what is each almond of this handful generally referred to as? I'm looking for a word that can mean one or more and relates to having one or more of a type of small food.

  • Like charcuteries? Feb 25, 2018 at 8:40
  • 2
    A nut, a candy/toffee/sweet. an apple/banana/date.... Any hypernym (other than 'one' in "Would you like one?") would be contrived to unidiomatic. Feb 25, 2018 at 8:54
  • I think that would be become a lot more claer if you first re-phrased "small foods". that's not something English ever uses. Either way, "each almond" is a nut, "a few almonds" are (a few) nuts and that makes it harder to grasp what English might call "a type of small food". Mar 6, 2018 at 1:28

2 Answers 2


Having looked up up morsel and granule, I think that grain is going to be the best fit for what you are looking for:

2 A single fruit or seed of a cereal. ‘a few grains of corn’

2.1 A small hard particle of a substance such as salt or sand. ‘a grain of salt’

2.2 The smallest possible quantity or amount of a quality. ‘there wasn't a grain of truth in what he said’

2.3 A discrete particle or crystal in a metal, igneous rock, etc., typically visible only when a surface is magnified.

It it includes both the food connotation and the idea of a single, discrete unit that you are looking for.

  • Nobody would refer to a single almond / toffee / apple as a grain. Feb 25, 2018 at 9:03
  • @EdwinAshworth - Agreed, but I think I read the question slightly differently to you. I think the OP is looking for a category header for really small foods that are sold by the scoop - nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruits, etc. It's in that context that I suggested grains; Powders and Grains. I admit it's far from perfect, I was just trying to give the OP something to work with.
    – JonLarby
    Feb 27, 2018 at 9:56
  • I always restrict far-from-perfect-but-just-might-help-OP responses to 'comments', and often downvote such as given as 'answers'. Unless, as here, someone beats me to it. Feb 27, 2018 at 10:58

I don't think you're likely to do better than item (or unit) for something so broad. You could talk about a nut, a toffee, a piece of fudge etc., but there's no more generic term that applies to food specifically.

In stock control systems the unit of measure for individual items like this is each or EA (leading to the horrible phrase per each meaning per unit). There may be a way to rephrase it and use each without a grammatical abomination, but it's not a noun which makes things harder.

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