A recent conversation I had went along the lines of:

Me: You don't need to have [food X] every day. We can eat something else instead.

Family member: Yes, I do.

Is there a word to describe either such a deeply felt conviction related to food on which the individual is fixated? It is not a physical compulsion, but an held conviction "I must do this" with no particular basis in fact.

If there is no such word for that, is there a word for the specific food on which the person is fixated? It's not a "craving" in the traditional sense.

  • Reading only the title of the question, I thought you meant craving. But the body of the question belies that. However, you're going to have to be more specific. What exactly is wrong with conviction? Are you talking about a belief or something else? Jul 3, 2018 at 1:01
  • I've clarified I hope to make my intentions clearer. But it's the belief that having the food is necessary, and the question is if there's a special situation when it's food-related as opposed to something else?
    – aeismail
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:04
  • 1
    You could call the behavior a food compulsion and the food item a compulsive food or a rigid requirement. // When a person shows some rigidity around food choices (I don't know whether this comment will be relevant for you, but on the off chance, I'll keep going): there are some occupational therapists who specialize in sensory integration, and they can (a) evaluate for problems in this area, and (b) provide treatment to help the person expand their repertoire and relax some of the rigidity. Jul 3, 2018 at 1:08
  • 1
    One might use the term addiction. It may not meet the medical/physiological definition, but still could produce the same compulsion.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:47
  • Obsession, might be a good word too. As in obsessive-compulsive disorders. People with autism often display behaviour like this.
    – user184130
    Jul 3, 2018 at 9:52

2 Answers 2


There is no single word for this.

If it's a need, but more emotional than either a physical craving or intellectual reasoning, then it might be termed a food fetish.


1 b : an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : PREPOSESSION

  • This is probably the best answer absent some peculiar loanword from German.
    – aeismail
    Jul 3, 2018 at 10:12

I think the most suitable word would be “gourmand,” which, according to Merriam-Webster’s first definition, means “one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking.” The practice of being a gourmand would be gourmandism. I prefer the OED’s definition which is “one who is over-fond of eating, one who eats greedily or to excess; a glutton.”

  • The hiccup here is that it only applies to a single food item.
    – aeismail
    Jul 3, 2018 at 10:07
  • I’m not sure I understand. You wanted a word that denotes one who is fixated with food, yes? Perhaps I misunderstood...
    – user305707
    Jul 3, 2018 at 10:28
  • Not all food, just one food item in particular. (See quotation.)
    – aeismail
    Jul 3, 2018 at 12:37

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