[[caption-width-right:212: [[WesternAnimation/StreetFighter "This is DELICIOUS!"]]]]

->''"The thing I always liked about food pills in ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons'' is that they always seemed to enjoy them so much. An apple pie food pill seemed to bring them as much contentment and happiness as an actual apple pie. You can get much the same effect with Jelly Bellys, true, but they really haven't moved past the dessert genre."''
-->-- '''Creator/LoreSjoberg'''

Food is different in the future and on alien planets. It might be more exotic, but for some reason, it's mostly just more convenient. Whether it's the tastiest, most satisfying meal that you've ever had, or just the futuristic equivalent of combat rations, it will come in the form of pills, and not just any pills -- Food Pills!

Food Pills typically come in your choice of several perfectly convincing flavors, have no sell-by date, and provide all the nutrition you need.

While once ''de rigueur'' for the Kitchen Of The Future during the first few decades of science fiction, they're a ForgottenTrope today--though a character ranting about how [[IWantMyJetpack the future has not delivered the wonders we expected from it]] will probably mention the lack of these as an example.

The change is no doubt due to the growth of the health-and-exercise industry and the subsequent general awareness that the human body needs considerably more than just a few milligrams of vitamins per day, and some of what it needs--such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat--require mass and can't be simply compressed into a tiny capsule.

Another thing food pills can't replace is the ''enjoyment'' of real food. For as long as humans have existed, we have gotten pleasure from not only eating, but also preparing food, and every culture on the planet has its own cuisines and standards of when and how food is prepared and consumed. Even if food pills could completely replace the need to get nourishment the old-fashioned way, they can't replace a romantic dinner or a holiday spread for the family. Even if food pills could taste exactly like the real thing, we want more than just taste from our food. Even with incentive, no one is going to invent the "crispy fried chicken" pill; crispiness and pills don't mix.

Today's science fiction food tends to be... well, food. If there ''is'' concentrated food--such as the "[[SoylentSoy protein pastes]]" that may be Food Pills' more realistic spiritual descendants--it tends to not taste very good, ranging from bland at best to [[EvenTheRatsWontTouchIt terrible at worst]].

Contrast the related trope "InstantMassJustAddWater" Pills, where pills or powders have water added to them to make glorious feasts. They both seem to come from futuristic depictions of food.

See also FutureFoodIsArtificial.


* An [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCsLcWvIbdA early advert]] for Smash instant mashed potato has a spaceman getting his lamb chops and peas in the form of food pills, but of course "there'll never be a substitute for Cadbury's Smash". Which is basically a substitute mashed potato anyway...

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The food pellets from Tarraku in ''Anime/{{Vandread}}''. These apparently suck so bad, the men on the ''Nirvana'' find out that even the women's ''bad'' cooking is better.
** When we see workers eating them in the first episode, they eat entire platefuls, so the 1 pill = 1 meal element of the trope is averted, making it more plausible.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', {{Ninja}} carry FoodPills, referred to by those exact words in the dub, as field survival rations. As with the TruthInTelevision examples, real food is preferred whenever possible.
** There are also Soldier Pills, used to make the consumer stronger by providing a burst of Chakra, and Blood Pills that can replenish lost blood.
** Several characters also use them to fuel particularly high-energy consumption attacks that would otherwise leave the ninja dead from rapid malnutrition. For example, Chouji has a three-pill provision [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique that he's only supposed to use in dire situations.]] After chomping on all three (including the last, red pill, whose side effects include ''death'') Chouji goes from his usually obese side to as skinny as Naruto.
** Another filler episode features Ryōri-nin, Cooking Ninjas, who were a type of ninja created to cook filling meals on missions for the very reason that food pills weren't nearly as satisfying as a proper meal. The problem with this came when the cooking ninjas became too good at their job and subsequently caused entire ninja teams to become obese and unfit, putting their ability to do their missions in jeopardy.
* In ''Manga/{{Dragonball}}'', the "Holy Senju Bean" / [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Senzu Bean]], when consumed, eliminates hunger completely and sustains you for ten days, in addition to completely healing any and all injuries, except for viruses. It even works for [[BigEater Goku]].
* Junko Mizuno's manga, ''Manga/PureTrance'', is about Food Pills humans rely on for food AfterTheEnd. Unfortunately, they tend to become addicted to Pure Trance and all sorts of medical problems come up.
* In ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'', following the TimeSkip [[spoiler: after Midora ruined the Human World's fertile lands with his Meteor Spice,]] humanity's diet now consists of synthetic capsules, which provide only the nutritional value, but none of the taste. And people have to eat large amounts of the things for a meal. There's a shot of one man having a nervous breakdown because he wants some ''real'' food, dammit!

* [[http://www.zazzle.com/space_food_posters-228433674153585046 This poster,]] from a Zazzle Art series of {{Zeerust}}-style travel posters.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Parodied in the Spanish comic ''ComicBook/ZipiYZape''. In one story where the twins travel to the future, they're given pills that make them instantly learn their school lesson.
* At least one Silver Age comic has ComicBook/{{Superman}} end up in the far future where the sun had turned red, the oceans had baked away, and very little life was left on Earth. While traveling to find the Fortress of Solitude in order to work out a way back to the present era, he stops in a conveniently close abandoned city where he stocks the pouches of his cape with Food Pills and Water Pills.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/DanDare'': Although people were eating "vitamin blocks" in the first story, they were mostly a subversion of the trope as it was made clear that they were a barely-adequate way of averting famine. A straighter version of the trope appeared in ''Rogue Planet'', where the alien Crypts and Phants lived entirely on food pills by choice. Unfortunately, these had the side-effect of turning the Crypts into a race of trembling cowards and the Phants into a race of raging psychopaths, until Dan tricked the Phants into making their pills with the Crypt formula. What would happen after this if anybody attacked them both was not commented on.
* A storyline in ''ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician'' involves [[TimeTravel a man from the future]] who has broken the laws of his era to travel back to the 21st century. His reason finally turns out to be that he's a gourmet, and there's no real ''food'' in his future, just bland concentrated stuff.

[[folder:Fan Works]]

* ''Fanfic/{{Fledglings}}'' has Gummis, which can give a Pokémon the amount of essential nutrients they need to survive without the use of meat in the case of more predatory species, and make the society of "civilized" Pokémon in the Cradle possible.


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/WallE'' has the food juice. "Cupcake-In-A-Cup, available now!"

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The ice cream pills in ''Film/SantaClausConquersTheMartians'', though "Dippin' Dots" actually comes close.
* The processed colored slabs of "food" from the film ''Film/SilentRunning''.
* There are several references throughout the ''Franchise/TheChroniclesOfRiddick'' series in regards to stuff like "protein waffles" being served at various slams throughout the galaxy, among other things. While not strictly pills, in this sense, it implies that raw nutrients have been converted into something more digestable, which is effectively the same thing. BRB, putting some vitamin C pills into my waffle iron.
* The characters in the movie ''Film/JustImagine'' (1930) not only consume food pills, but get intoxicated on booze pills.
* ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' features a zero-gee "meal" sucked up through straws, and later a tray of what can only be called Astronaut Chow.
* In ''Film/TheFifthElement'', Leeloo pours a small amount of food pellets into a bowl, puts the bowl in a microwave-like device, closes the door, presses a button, and opens the door again, pulling out ''an instant roast chicken with all the trimmings''. Forget faster-than-light travel, ''that'' is clearly the pinnacle of human achievement.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' had a similar gag to the one above, where the old Lorraine puts a a teeny tiny pizza about the size of an Oreo into a device that looks like a cross between a microwave and an EZ-Bake Oven, requests a hydrate level, and has a perfectly normal [[ProductPlacement Pizza Hut]] pizza come out of the device a few seconds later.
* In ''Film/DaleksInvasionEarth2150AD'', the Robomen eat colored pills dispensed by an automatic kitchen.
* Those pen cap like things the Jedi wear on their belts in the ''StarWars'' Prequel Trilogy are [[AllThereInTheManual stated]] by WordOfGod to be packages of food pills.
* In ''Film/CubeZero'', the technicians seem to be provided only with food pills containing specific meals.
* Made fun of in the Czech film ''Ikarie XB 1'' (1963), set on a lengthy mission to Alpha Centauri. While everyone else is eating what looks like high-class ready meals, one man gets a large pill.
-->'''First woman:''' This is how our ancestors imagined food in space.\\
'''Second woman:''' Romantics.\\
(''the man swallows the pill'')\\
'''Man:''' Well, my lunch is over.
* A very dark example is the eponymous ''Film/SoylentGreen'', green wafer-like protein crackers that are the sole source of food for nearly all of humanity. They're supposedly made from sea plankton. Presumably their less nutrition-dense predecessors Soylent Yellow and Soylent Red were, but as the oceans are actually dead, [[ImAHumanitarian the true source of Soylent Green is a hell of a lot less savory]].
* In ''Film/LtRobinCrusoeUSN'', Robin takes four at once of these while in a life raft in the ocean. He gets the hiccups.
* ''Film/ConquestOfSpace'' (1955). The candidates for the Mars mission are pissed because they have to eat these in the same mess hall that everyone else is tucking into roast beef and fresh vegetables. In a further irony, the sections of the pill dispenser are labelled Roast Beef, etc. One crewman asks for a cup of coffee and is given a pill. "And sugar!" Two more pills. In a KickTheDog moment, a crewman is informed that he's washed out of the program when a steak dinner is served to him. Everyone watches in envy as he takes a bite...then he rushes from the room to be sick.


* One of the later ''[[Literature/LandOfOz Oz]]'' books features FoodPills invented by Professor Wogglebug. Characters who take them are still hungry, even though he insists they have all the nutrients they need. Plus, there is the fact that people want to have the fun of regular meals - when the Professor tried to force his students to eat the pills all the time, they threw him into a lake.
* ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime'': the Auditors of Reality in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''. The Auditors who construct human bodies as disguises initially try to keep the bodies going by exchanging all necessary materials directly with the environment rather than messing around with inefficient biological systems. Unfortunately, using actual human bodies (even ones created from scratch) means that they come with all manner of inconvenient instincts and drives, and sort of expect to be relying on those inefficient biological systems; so a group of disguised Auditors trying to "breathe" by giving oxygen directly to the cells collapse on the ground, suffocating, as their bodies demand that they start ''literally'' breathing.
** Lembas and Cram (see below) are both parodied with Dwarf Bread; a single loaf can keep you alive for ''weeks''...but that's mostly because it's so hard to ingest that you will find yourself willing to eat literally anything else if it means no Dwarf Bread tonight. Actual dwarfs tend to prize it highly, but more as a weapon than a food.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's short novel ''Methuselah's Children'' involves, at one point, trees that produce food flavored like "mushrooms and charcoal-broiled steak", "mashed potatoes and brown gravy", or "fresh brown bread and sweet butter". Heinlein, writing in the early days of artificial flavorings, seems not to have realized that there's more to your sense of taste than just flavor: the above-described flavors applied to fruitlike "growths the size of a man's hand", "creamy yellow, spongy but crisp", and the temperature of just-picked fruit (about room temperature), sounds less than appetizing.
* One of the wonders in Tom's shop in ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' is what are tiny wafers that expand into fully baked loaves of bread when adding water.
* In the suzanne Martel's French children's novel ''Surréal 3000'', everyone is bald, lives under Mont Royal and eats food pills.
* Various mentions of combat rations and food pastes in ''StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] novels tend to involve jokes on them being nearly as deadly as actual weapons.
** That's an ubiquitous military joke that invariably pops up whenever soldiers and field rations exist together, regardless of country and even millennium. Just remember all {{Fan Nickname}}s for [=MREs=]. Hint: ''Meal, Refusing to Excrete''[[note]]Early [=MREs=] were notorious for inducing constipation in their eaters ó it turned out that they were originally designed to reduce the number of times the soldiers had to "unload", and thus intenionally were somewhat fiber-deficient. Unfortunately, it has GoneHorriblyRight, resulting in a lot of constipated soldiers and mountains of silent curses. They were later reformulated to contain more fiber and included a laxative chewing gum.[[/note]] is one of the mildest. ''Meals Rejected by Ethiopians'' was popular at the time news covered famine in Ethiopia.
* ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' introduces Willy Wonka's Three-Course-Dinner Chewing Gum...if you don't mind being inflating into a huge juicy blueberry. This ''does'' manage to avoid the conventional problems with food in pill form - it's clear Wonka thought both of the psychological need to do something resembling eating over a period of time and of the physical need for stomach fullness. He's just not through with the new set of problems created by the solution.
* Though not literally pills, the Elven "waybread" ''lembas'' from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' serves the same function, in that it doesn't go bad and a single bite can fill you up.
* Human-made ''cram'' from Lake-Town in ''Literature/TheHobbit''; it never goes bad either but according to Bilbo is not only completely tasteless but requires almost infinite chewing to ingest.
* At least one culture of shrews in ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' has a bread that is so filling that a small amount will even sate the hares, an entire species of BigEaters. There is one character that can take a whole loaf at a go -- an owl who suggests he may have information regarding a captured platoon of hares, but will only give the information in trade for some of the waybread.
* Creator/AndreNorton's science fiction stories often mentioned "E-rations", which had all the nutrition required for human beings but very little taste.
* E.C. Tubb's "Dumarest" stories had a liquid high-energy food called "Basic," typically described as sickly sweet because of a large amount of glucose. It was often used when reviving a HumanPopsicle, to aid quicker recovery. Nobody drank Basic if they had the time and money for real food.
* Stephen Leacock's short story [[http://www.online-literature.com/stephen-leacock/literary-lapses/10/ "The New Food"]]: An entire Christmas dinner for 13 people, concentrated down into one small pill... that then gets eaten by the baby. [[spoiler: InstantMassJustAddWater is a plot point. A ''[[PopGoesTheHuman messy]]'' one.]]
* Creator/IsaacAsimov's short story "C-Chute", At one point two characters eat space rations: "thoroughly synthetic, concentrated, nourishing and, somehow, unsatisfying."
* Creator/RayBradbury's short story "R is for Rocket". Food-capsules (AKA concen-tabs) are provided to teenagers, and are easier to eat when your stomach is twisted up with excitement. They're specifically referred to as "pills" in the story.
* Inverted in Scott Westerfeld's Literature/{{Uglies}} series. Food is plentiful in the future, so there are calorie binging pills that you take so you can eat even more.
* In "Literature/TheRunningMan" by Creator/StephenKing, Richards wonders what his wife and child are eating. Some options include fake milk, fake coffee, and kelp pills.
* King uses a variant in ''Literature/TheLongWalk'', with paste concentrates issued to the Walkers. Apparently, in this reality, they're given to astronauts as well.
* [[Creator/WilliamHopeHodgson William Hope Hodgson]]'s ''Literature/TheNightLand'' is one of the earliest examples of this, with food tablets as well as "dehydrated water" (!) in the far future. Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/AwakeInTheNightLand'', which is set in the same universe, also has them.
* ''Literature/TomorrowTown'', a short story by Creator/KimNewman about a "community of the future" built in 1970's Britain that doesn't live up to its own hype. Like everything else about Tomorrow Town, the food pills don't work as well as they're supposed to, given that they taste like chalk and are hardly filling. By the end of the story, everyone in town is eagerly awaiting the arrival of an old-fashioned fish-and-chip van so they can have some proper food for once.
* Creator/RobertBloch's story "The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton" features food pills. However, they are only used as rations in situations where space is at a premium (such as space travel) rather than as a general food source for the population. Also, the monotony of eating them is one thing that makes the protagonist GoMadFromTheIsolation.
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''Literature/{{Ringworld}}'' features something like food pills. The hoverbikes provided to the protagonists, when loaded up with raw organic matter, provide bars of delicious nutrients that are tailored to the tastes of various species using them.
* All the human space navies in the Literature/TheLostFleet series use nutritional bars of various alleged flavors when they're away from base. The Alliance forces trapped far behind Syndicate lines end up raiding rear echelon bases for supplies and quickly discover that as bad as their rations are, Syndic ration bars manage to be worse. The Danaka Yoruk-bar is considered particularly inedible.
* Literature/CiaphasCain, [[RunningGag HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!]] describes Imperial ration bars as 'tasting reassuringly of nothing in particular'.
* In the days of ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'', the Imperial Guard had to make do with tins of a grey, flavorless, mucousy substance known as "Slab". It apparently could be molded into something resembling plastic explosives, which one of Gaunt's schola friends utilized in a prank that the faculty did not find funny.
* In a variant that actually works well, Langdon St. Ives invents ''coffee'' pills decades before (and much, much better than) instant coffee was developed in RealLife. On several occasions in ''Lord Kelvin's Machine'', he uses them to bribe coffee-loving ObstructiveBureaucrat or Mook characters for favors.
* This machine is spoofed in ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. The Nutrimatic Drinks Despenser analyzes the user to decide what drink would be perfectly suited to his or her tastes and nutritional needs. However, no-one knows ''why'' it does this, since it invariably (and much to the tea-loving Arthur's irritation) produces a liquid which is "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea". In [[Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy the movie]] Trillian more diplomatically says it "resembles tea".
* ''Literature/TheMasterKey'': has food tablets:
--> Within each tablet are stored certain elements of electricity which are capable of nourishing a human body for a full day. All you need do is to toss one into your mouth each day and swallow it. It will nourish you, satisfy your hunger and build up your health and strength.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/AlmostHuman'': In "Straw Man", the homeless shelter is serving supplement pills that are tailored for the need of each person, it is suggested that it equates a meal when the villain baits his victims by saying that they could have a "real" meal in another shelter.
* Meal bars in ''Series/BabylonFive'' are nutritious enough, but very much inferior in taste to "insta-heats" (which are like microwave meals that heat themselves when opened).
* ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'' not only has food pills, there's an episode called "Planet of the Slave Girls" where Buck, Wilma, and Major Duke Denton are investigating a case of poisoned food pills that are making the people on Earth sick.
* In the '70s sitcom ''Come Back Mrs Noah'', a "nutrition pill" is inserted into a robot chicken, which after much clucking produces a string of eggs.
* Referenced in the light-hearted documentary ''Crystal Balls'', presented by Griff Rhys-Jones. In one of the programme's many criticisms of futurists failing to see the obvious, Rhys-Jones points out that they have been predicting food pills will replace actual food for decades, without it ever occurring to them that nobody ''wants'' this.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In an early episode of the show, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E3TheEdgeOfDestruction "The Edge of Destruction"]], the TARDIS features a vending machine device which produces food in candy-bar form that mimics the flavor and texture of real meals when eaten. It's never seen again.
*** An early companion book to the series by Creator/TerryNation, published in [[TheSixties the 1960's]], elaborates on this. Apparently the hungry TARDIS-dweller types in details of the meal they want (anticipating computer keyboards by at least a decade) and the machine produces what ''looks'' like a bar of chocolate. If the requested meal was bacon and eggs, by some AppliedPhlebotinum, alternate bites of the bar will provide the taste of grilled bacon, then fried egg. The bar has all the calories, protein and vitamins necessary to sustain life. (But nobody ever thinks about dietary fibre?)
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E1TheTombOfTheCybermen "The Tomb of the Cybermen"]], Victoria is offered chicken in pill-form by an archaeologist in the distant future. She is rather more reluctant to try it.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E7TheWheelInSpace "The Wheel in Space"]], the Doctor and Jamie, exploring a deserted spaceship, discovers a machine that dispenses cube-shaped food pills. The novelization adds the details that the flavour isn't up to much, and the lack of visual difference between the different courses means the first cube Jamie tries turns out to be dessert.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E1DayOfTheDaleks "Day of the Daleks"]], the 22[[superscript:nd]] Century's Earth Controller claims that food in his time is almost invariably in pill form.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E2Smile "Smile"]]: The Doctor and Bill arrive at an empty human colony, where they are served cubes of blue gelatin by the robots that populate the place.
* There is a variant in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': rather than being in pill form, they are about the shape and size of bricks[[note]]On a spaceship, space is at a premium, so highly concentrated foodstuffs would be worth their weight in gold[[/note]] and can feed a large family for a month (Mal: "Longer, if they don't like their kids very much").
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'': Etta gives a green pill to a hungry Peter in [[Recap/FringeS05E03TheRecordist "The Recordist"]]. She clarifies that it was an "apple".
* In the ''Series/GoodEats'' episode "The Once and Future Fish", Alton (portraying an old man going grocery shopping with his granddaughter (played by his real-life daughter)) observes these at the store and turns his nose up at them.
* Referenced in ''Series/{{Joey}}'':
--> '''Michael:''' Eh. I just donít get that excited about food, you know? If I could just take a pill once a day instead of eating, Iíd be happy.
--> '''Joey:''' Yeah, if they do that then I get your food.
--> '''Michael:''' All right, then I get your pill.
--> '''Joey:''' Yeah, you just try to take it!
* In ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'', it's revealed that people wearing [[TransformationTrinket Sengoku Drivers]] can absorb nutrients from Lockseed-ified Helheim fruit. [[spoiler: This is necessary because [[EldritchLocation the Helheim Forest]] is taking over Earth and the survivors will have to find food where they can, plus eating the fruits raw will turn you into a monster. However, as [[TheHero Kouta]] finds out, absorbing Lockseed energy does the same thing, just much more slowly.]]
* ''Series/LostInSpace''. Episodes "The Hungry Sea" and "The Space Trader" had "protein pills", a complete nutritional emergency substitute for whole foods.
* A similar device shows up in ''Series/MegasXLR'', which will create any food requested. Jamie tries to use it to create some women and money, but it doesn't work.
* Parodied in a ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' skit where the Observers sent Mike their super-advanced FoodPills. Mike assumes that they're the traditional version - one pill gives you all the essentials for a whole day. The Observers say that no, you need to eat a whole bowlful, [[AdjacentToThisCompleteBreakfast with milk and juice and other stuff]].
** Of course, to get a full day's nutrients, the Observers must consume three or four bowls. Or maybe fifteen.
* In ''Series/TheOuterLimits1963'' episode "Counterweight", the participants in a simulated space voyage are fed nothing but unpalatable meat and vegetable concentrates, designed to save weight and storage space. The stewardess sprays the scent of real food from aerosol cans to try to compensate for the lack of flavor and texture.
* The spray can foods in ''Series/PhilOfTheFuture''.
* In ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'', the Astro Megaship has the Synthetron, a machine that apparently creates any food or drink the user is thinking about. The Deltabase in ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' has the same type of machine.
* ''Series/{{Quark}}'' had a scene or two where the crew would eat a meal ... by putting a hose to each person's mouth, through which a "pill" about the size of a fist was pneumatically rammed down their throats.
* Referenced in one episode of ''Series/StargateSG1''. Carter is working with Thor, an alien, on a new weapon. It's taking a while, so Thor offers her some food in the form of multicolored, bite-sized pieces. Carter tries one, and practically spits it right back out. WordOfGod is that the prop "yellow one" was every bit as disgusting [[EnforcedMethodActing as Carter's reaction suggests it is]].
-->'''Thor:''' I like the yellow ones.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** The original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' series had the automated variant of instant food. Crew were issued cards that would summon a given pre-programmed meal from the automated kitchen, which would quickly compose the dishes from stocked foodstuffs and deliver them via a dumbwaiter system that ran parallel to the turbolifts. ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Next Generation]]'' and onwards used replicators that would convert raw matter (i.e. rocks) into organic matrices via transporter technology.
** Except in the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles", when the Tribbles infest this system, and arrive piled on Captain Kirk's tray; one of them has even jammed itself into his drinking glass.
** In "By Any Other Name", enemy aliens who were new to human bodies asked why the crew just didn't use food pills like they did. The crew then goes out of their way to subvert them by showing them the pleasures of [[ThroughHisStomach eating, drinking]], and other things. As to what they were eating and drinking? [[GargleBlaster "It's... it's green!"]] ([[PaletteSwappedAlienFood among other bright colors]]).
---> '''Spock:''' [T]hey have taken human form and are therefore having human reaction.\\
'''[=McCoy=]:''' If he keeps [[OrgasmicallyDelicious reacting like that]], he's going to need a diet.
* Used in the ''Series/WhodunnitUK'' episode "Future Imperfect", which was set in the year 2076. The options included duck l'organge and haddock Monte Carlo, although one of the characters passed on the new potato pills because they were slimming.

* Music/DavidBowie's "Music/SpaceOddity" features the famous line "Take your protein pills and put your helmet on."

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Space 1889}}'' has food pills as a possible invention; together with a pint of water it replaces a meal.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** Early players of the game often joked about the ''Create Food & Water'' spell making a cardboard-tasting, nutritious slop, although this wasn't specified in the spell's description. Though these jokes may explain the "Murlynd's Spoon" (Spoon of Substance in the SRD) magic item from later editions, which ''did'' create a cardboard-tasting, nutritious slop. Fortunately, the popular, common, low level, long lasting spell prestidigitation which explicitly covers "altering taste" as one of its ([[MagicTool many]]) functions exists alongside it, though is typically inaccessible to most casters of Create Food & Water (though items of it are inexpensive).
** Adventure S3 ''Expedition to the Barrier Peaks'' has a crashed spaceship with concentrated rations such as protein stews, cero-porridges, nutrient drinks, surrogate steaks, vegetable substitutes and vita-bars.
** The shadow elves of the Mystara setting have their own variant of this trope: edible balls of compressed fungus that are lightweight, don't spoil easily, and can sustain life if just one is eaten per day. More realistic than pills, as they're large enough to contain a day's worth of calories.
** Adventure ''Masters of Eternal Night''. Illithids normally eat the brains of humanoid beings (such as humans). In this module they have pills which contain the condensed food value of a human brain, which will fulfill an illithid's brain-eating requirement for a month.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' had a spell called "Vittles", that expressly created nutritious cardboard-flavoured slop. This could however be augmented with another spell that made anything that was even remotely edible taste like a three-star eleven course meal.
* Food Tablets in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: Ultra-Tech'' don't taste very good and stretch their longevity by suppressing the appetite rather than being especially filling.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' has various forms of this. However when not pressed for space real food is naturally preferred. P.69 of the volume ''Far Trader'' deals with this.
* ''TabletopGame/HollowEarthExpedition''. The ''Secrets of the Surface World'' supplement mentions Nutrient Pills as a possible Artifact Resource. Swallowing one replaces eating a normal meal.
* ''Mutant Future''. Goo Tubes are filled with a nutrient-rich mush which comes in four flavors: green, red, yellow and white. No one in the post-apocalyptic world knows what the flavors were meant to duplicate. A Goo Tube is the size of a roll of quarters but can feed a man for an entire day.
* Mongoose Publishing's ''Franchise/StarshipTroopers The Roleplaying Game'' had MI Field Rations. They had all the calories, nutrients and minerals needed to sustain an athletic man or woman for a single day. However, they were almost flavorless, white, chalky bars and were usually a trooperís last choice for food.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}} XP'' supplement ''Criminal Histories''. The Vita-Yum Meal Substitute Bar Substitute Pill.
* Fantasy Games Unlimited's ''TabletopGame/{{Aftermath}}!''. Super-K Rations were the ultimate in preserved nutrition. They were pastes stored in a squeeze tube that provided a full day's nutrition. However, they weren't very appetizing.
* You might think that a far future science-fiction game like ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' and more specifically its RPG counterpart ''TabletopGame/MechWarrior'' would have these in some fashion...and you'd be right, but only so far as noting that battlefield rations exist and, apparently, another thousand years of practice haven't made them anymore palatable. The most recognizable forms resemble the Russian rations below--a canned meat stew thick with congealed fat. The somewhat less recognizable form is a hard, dry nutrient bar that is compared to a pressed sawdust brick in consistency and described not so much as food as just 'something to chew on.' The ''least'' recognizable form of 'food' is a plastic tube full of nutrient paste that is universally reviled...in exactly the same way by everyone who has to eat it. Every single time it appears, it is described in both texture and taste as 'soggy newspaper,' or 'damp cardboard,' or some synonym of wet wood product.
* ''Sorcery & Super Science! PostApocalyptic Role-Playing!'' has several versions of this. All are items from before the collapse of civilization.
** Hunger Busters. Three of these little square pills provided the daily requirements of calories and vitamins.
** Canned food. One can contains food that will keep a human being going for an entire day. It will remain edible for ten years or more in the can.
** A Famine Tube is a plastic tube containing a disgusting nutrient-rich goop that provides one day of sustenance.
** A Feast Tube contains a delicious nutrient-rich goop that provides food for a day.
* The Technology Guide for ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' also includes Goo Tubes, which are available in a wide variety of flavors and sufficient for a full day's worth of nourishment. The ones found in the millennia-old wreckage of a spaceship have only a partial chance of being spoiled.

* In "Make a Miracle" from ''Where's Charley?'', one of Charley's future predictions is that "someday, just a small white pill will feed a family."

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The healing items in ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil'' are all "synthetic foodstuffs," from the slab-like Starkos to the more traditionally pill-shaped K-Bups (manufactured by the aptly-named Nutripills company). However, unlike most examples of FoodPills, real food definitely exists -- we just never see the characters eating it. For example, a ParodyCommercial for Starkos shows them being served with guacamole, and Pey'j at one point comments that an animal reminds him of his aunt's [[AlienLunch "Chocolate-covered squid tentacles with kiwi sauce."]]
** The K-Bups appear to be marketed as some variety of candy-style snack food, while Chip Cheezum and General Ironicus jokingly refer to the Starkos as wedges of pure cheese in their LetsPlay.
* ''Ranch Rush 2'' has the antagonist trying to sell his "Wonder Food Pills". The protagonist, Sara, along with all of her non-Victor customers, insist that fresh food is best. Eventually, [[spoiler:they team up to create jellybeans]].
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'''s "enertron" devices in 2300 AD. "HP and MP restored! ...but you're still hungry."
* ''VideoGame/RedAlert3Paradox'''s Allies issue these to special forces and paratroopers as part of their retro-future theme... along with appetite suppressors.
* Given its post-apocalyptic setting it is no surprise that these appear in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''. The most overt examples are in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', where food in the various DLC levels includes tranditional MRE packs as well as "[[BlandNameProduct Salient]] [[Film/SoylentGreen Green]]," a bizarre plant based goop that could be heated to recreate any of the 11 plants that had donated DNA to the mixture originally ([[AWizardDidIt best to not ask how that works]]). The idea was that players could cook the stuff and get some pinto beans or an ear of maize to make into other foods, but the Courier could also just as easily stockpile several jars of Salient Green and chug the stuff straight, which provided more hit points and is more in keeping with the spirit of this trope.
* In the ''Xtended'' GameMod for ''[[Videogame/{{X}} X3: Terran Conflict]]'', food pills appear in a [=GalNet=] news article. The pills are designed for SpaceTrucker and SpaceFighter pilots to get a meal down quick when a SpacePirate attack can come at any minute. The end of the article then states that the food company's next goal is [[AssShove to make a non-suppository pill]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* F-Rations in ''Webcomic/WeaponBrown''. Due to the comics post-apocalyptic setting, the majority of humanity's survivors, especially those living under the yoke of the Syndicate, survive off F-Rations, calory-dense emergency rations left over from the pre-war military. The Syndicate uses their control of the Caloric Reserve to consolidate their power, even if the rations tastes horrible.
* A special type of instant noodles from the webcomic "The Junk Hyenas Diner" by the same lady who made ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'' come in pill form. Subverted in that not only are food pills extremely rare, the instant noodles were banned because [[spoiler: peoples' stomachs [[InstantMassJustAddWater violently exploded]]]] when they accidentally ingested the pill, [[spoiler: which is shown later when Guff kills the Dinoboar by throwing an unopened noodle packet in its mouth.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation''
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1122 SCP-1122 ("The House of Tomorrow")]]. The House's kitchen was once stocked with pills that would turn into three course meals after being hydrated.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2650 SCP-2650 ("Pediatric Pupaphobia")]]. SCP-2650-B is the body of a former ventriloquist and magician who is still alive despite having a wooden sphere in place of his brain. He is fed Capsule Rations (food in capsule form).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'':
** Parodied. Leela and a date go to a restaurant, and seem to have nothing but small tablets on their plates. Leela compliments the place for its "generous portions". Her date responds "If you liked the meal, just wait 'til you try these after dinner mints."
** Conversed in "Proposition Infinity". After Bender is bailed out of jail, he asks how things have changed on the outside (after being there for an hour or so). "Is food finally in pill form? How about pills? Are they in food form?"
** In "Roswell That Ends Well", Prof. Farnsworth's diner order includes a mention of "two mutton pills".
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' parodied this in just the opposite way; after discovering [=PowerSauce=] (an apple-based energy snack loosely based on Clif Bars), Homer decides to eat all his food in bar form. He presses 15 pounds of cooked spaghetti into a candy bar sized rectangle, takes a bite out of it... [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98ViBJzPmqs then promptly picks up the phone and calls the hospital]].
** The future episode "Holidays of Future Passed" parodies this, where Future Marge adds water to a pill... which turns into a recipe card for a cake. She then takes the ingredients out of the cupboard.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons''.
** In TheMovie, George has Rosie cut out part of a breakfast pill he doesn't want, and notes that the toast was burned.
** In one Tums commercial, George gets heartburn from a chili dog pill with the works.
* The [[TheFlintstones Flintstones]] episode where Fred borrows from his boss and puts off paying him back parodies this, when the Flinstones family is taken into [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything the suspiciously Jetsons-like]] [[TheFuture future]] to show Fred how much interest will accumulate on his debt if he doesn't pay it off. When they're taken to a diner that serves food pills, Fred has two food pills thinking they were puny, then afterwards says he ate too much.
* In the "Space Madness" episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'', Commander Hoek and Cadet Stimpy eat food paste from a tube. This is what sends Ren over the edge: "I need some '''real''' food!"
** In a camping episode, Stimpy carries several of these. Ren swallows one labeled "Cowboy's Delight Dinner" before Stimpy tells him they're dehydrate, and he needs to add water first, causing the entire meal (inexplicably, a ''live horse'') to suddenly expand up inside of Ren....
-->'''Mr. Horse:''' [[CatchPhrase No sir, I don't like it]].
* The ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' episode "Future Lost" had food discs (which also included drinks). Later, Timmy [[ChekhovsGun used the juice food discs to give brain freeze]] to the [[BigBad Big Brain]].
* WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain seem well fed on their food pellets (when they're not nibbling on Chumcicles). Then again, food in pellet form could be satisfying if you were a laboratory mouse.
* Somewhat subverted in the ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooWhereAreYou'' episode "Nowhere to Hyde," when Dr. Jekyll was working on a vitamin that a person would only take once in their lifetime.
* In a ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' episode, Garfield [[RipVanWinkle falls asleep and wakes up in]] TheFuture where all food is in pill form, much to his chagrin. When [[AllJustADream he wakes up]] and sits down for his lunch, Jon serves him a pill on a plate causing him to run away in a panic.
-->'''Jon:''' What's wrong with taking a daily vitamin tablet?
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRuffAndReddyShow'': Ruff and Reddy are tricked by a professor into being launched into space on a fact finding mission to the moon. Inside the rocket, Reddy asks for a six-course lunch:
-->'''Professor:''' You'll find everything you need on board. Hamburger pills...\\
'''Reddy:''' Hamburger pills??!\\
'''Professor:''' Hot dog pills, lemonade pills, and milkshake capsules.\\
'''Reddy:''' What if I get a headache?\\
'''Professor:''' Then you take an aspirin sandwich.
* The second claymation short shown before the ''WesternAnimation/MrBogus'' episode "[[Recap/MrBogusS2E1ComputerIntruder Computer Intruder]]" had Bogus come across a container of dehydrated food tablets, along with a vial of water used for the re-hydration process. After he experiments with one of the tablets, Bogus then eats all of the tablets and drinks the entire vial of water, [[WeightTaller which causes him to become]] [[BalloonBelly massively bloated within seconds.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TimeSquad'', Otto and Tuddrussel's rations consist of microwaveable pellets. Plate one and nuke it for a few seconds, and it pops into [[InstantMassJustAddWater a delicious full-sized meal]] (such as chicken cacciatore).
* Briefly seen in the ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'' episode "Future Schlock" affter Rocko and Heffer return to Earth after spending seventeen years in space (and apparently not aging the entire time).
--->'''Heffer:''' I love the future.
--->(adds a drop of water to a pill that instantly turns into a huge hoagie)
--->'''Heffer:''' I love the future.
* Exaggerated in ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' episode "The Safety". Darwin thinks all foods are unsafe (vegetables contain pesticides, meat contains hormones, etc.), so he forces his family to eat '''base molecules''' (hydrocarbons and such) of the foods.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' has Dexter accidently being mixed up with the son of two strict scientists. At first Dexter loves living with them, until their cold, sterile approach to child rearing gets on his nerves. The line comes when they serve him vitamin pills and chewable juice for breakfast.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Military rations are designed to be filling, easy to store, and long-lasting (Civil War-era hardtack, [=MRE=]s, etc.). Their taste, however, is less than palatable, but then again, beggars can't be choosers.
** This is often debatable with modern rations like [=MRE=]s; while many have gotten terrible or average reviews at best, other civilian reviewers have enjoyed their meals and found them roughly on par with commercial canned or frozen meals in terms of taste. Presumably, the top problem with modern rations is having to eat the same thing for a month straight. Of course, the Russians still feed their soldiers canned meat with half the can full of fat...
*** Because fat ''IS'' very nutritious and calorie-rich, and for a physically active man such as a soldier, it isn't even nearly as harmful for health as for a modern sedentary urbanite,[[note]]Chief health disadvantage of fats is that they tend to accumulate if not consumed by the body, and a modern urbanite of an average lifestyle spends at most about 2200 kcal per day, while consuming about 3200 kcal, leading to obesity and cardiovascular problems. A soldier in the field OTOH can burn off as much as 6800 kcal per day.[[/note]] while being cheap and non-spoiling in a can. Around the world much of the traditional peasant food, created by the people who did a lot of hard physical labor, is a hearty, greasy fare. The main reason obesity runs rampant in modern society is a consequence of technology removing a lot of the hard manual labor with people largely not changing their traditional high-fat diets to fit. See also: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemmican Pemmican.]]
*** Referenced in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'': Snake loves the instant noodles and calorie mates that he's able to find, but he simply can't stomach the Russian rations that restore most of his stamina bar (in a game where the amount of stamina restored is related to both the taste and the calorie content of the meal). Mainly because he missed on a crucial detail: traditional Russian canned meat is supposed to be eaten ''hot'', with the crushed biscuits or cereals added to the pot, creating a kind of a porridge/gravy. Eating it cold out of a can like luncheon meat is an acquired taste indeed.
*** Also note that in TheSixties when the game is set [[UsefulNotes/RamenAsDehydratedNoodles instant noodles]] were a relatively new invention, [[NoExportForYou unavailable out of Japan]], and actually an ''upscale meal'', costing up to three times more than the real thing. It's a kind of an in-joke that Kojima loves.
** The British Army went to quite a bit of trouble to avert this one a few years back when they updated their field rations, and even the previous generation weren't too bad, except for that one dessert you had to break up with a rock. Being far better than American [=MRE=]s, British Army units have been known to trade boxes of ration packs to US counterparts for some of their better kit.
** British field rations used as late as the 1990's were designed to minimise the amount of time a soldier might spend out of the line attending to, err, ''personal maintainance tasks''. It was estimated a soldier might need to excrete once every three days, thus minimising the amount of time his mind might be on other things, during which time he could literally be caught with his trousers down. [[note]]There is a well-witnessed account of a British colonel who left the lines in North Africa to walk downwind into the desert armed with a spade and some toilet paper. A German sniper with a sense of humour elected not to kill him outright, instead shooting the luckless officer in the arse. He was carried away to be treated for a bullet that had cleanly passed through both buttocks and the gap in between, calling to his men, "See what I told you men about economy of fire? That Jerry fired one bullet. Four holes. that's what I ''call'' economy of fire!"[[/note]]. The flaw with this system was that all men in a unit are issued field rations at the same time. The black joke circulated that all an enemy needed to do was wait for the third day when ''everyone'' would be counted on to go for a shit. And ''then'' attack.
** The relative quality of the [=MRE=]s received a fair amount of public attention after Hurricane Katrina, when the military supplied many of them to people displaced by the storm and the subsequent flooding. That said, everybody agreed that even the worst [=MRE=] beats starving.
** Australia subverts this due to influences from world war 1 and onwards due to the fact that being British cannon fodder is hungry work (General John Monash even had hot food delivered to the front line in the battle of Hamel) their ration packs contain Cadbury chocolate and are universally considered awesome.
** Much as the Russian rations were maligned here, the modern ones, especially in their [[TheNewTens New Tens]] form, are basically just an assembly of the commercial canned stuff, with the chief difference being the heavy and bulky tin cans replaced by the lighter and slimmer foil ones, or the even lighter retort pouches. The diversity and taste also much improved compared to the old Soviet rations, with the infamous (in the West, it still an outdoorsmen favorite in Russia itself) canned meat coming down to just a single can for the day.\\
However, it still is as far removed from a genuine Food Pill as it gets, due to its quite fussy structure centered around crackers that have to be spread with various addons, entree cans that have to be heated etc., remaining in place. Truth to be told, though, most other rations in the world are still structured exactly the same, and the MRE with its "heat up the pouch and eat straight out of it" concept is still pretty much an outlier.
** The Hershey company developed a chocolate-based, low volume high calorie ration to include with the survival kit for pilots who eject from their planes. It was intentionally designed to taste bad (the order to the food scientists tasked with designing the chocolate was that it must taste "slightly better than a boiled potato"), so no one would snack on it unless they needed to. Indeed, the food scientists may have done a bit too good of a job on the taste front, as the chocolates turned out to taste so bad that some WWII soldiers would rather risk starvation than eat it.
** Certain armed forces personnel, most notably aircrew and certain special forces units, are issued the closest thing to a straight example that contemporary science can provide; high-glucose, caffeinated candy that can be eaten while marching. Long-distance runners and mountaineers sometimes use the same stuff.
*** The idea was pioneered by the Germans in 1930s, when their army encouraged development of Scho-Ka-Kola, a highly caffeinated chocolate flavored with Kola nuts. It was heavily used by the German military during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and remains popular today, presumably with the military as well as civilians. And then they went the whole nine yards, spiking their ''Fliegerschokolade'' and ''Panzershokolade'' with the honest to God ''metamphetamine'', though there is some confusion whether these were the real spiked chocolates, or just the soldiers' nicknames for the pure meth pills. ''Civilian''-grade meth-chocolates did exist for real, though, but since 1941 they were prescription only.
* Cereals, like Corn Flakes, go to this trope as close in RealLife as it gets.
** As does beef jerky.
* Canned food originated for military purposes, as feeding an army is rather difficult. As Napoleon himself said, "An army marches on its stomach." During the first years of the Napoleonic Wars, the notable French newspaper ''Le Monde'', prompted by the government, offered a hefty cash award of 12,000 francs to any inventor who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food. Glass jars and champagne bottles were used at first but they break rather easily. So metal cans were developed.
** Unfortunately, early cans were sealed with lead, which probably ended up killing soldiers who had survived actual combat, not to mention that each can had to be hand-soldered, which made them hideously expensive, and the solder often failed in transport of in the field, contaminating the can contents further. Food poisoning from contaminated cans was a common cause of death for soldiers all the way up to the UsefulNotes/SpanishAmericanWar. Reliable and clean methods of sealing cans (double pressed joints with rubber-based sealant) didn't arrive until the late 19th century, together with machines for automatic can makers, finally allowing for the safe and economic canning method.
*** Even now, can sealers are tricky, finicky machines requiring constant minute anjustments and the whole set of high-tech gizmos to ensure the consistent quality of the seals, up to ''computer tomography'' of the select cans (if even one can fails, the whole lot is discarded).
** Also, the tin opener wasn't invented until some years after the tin, so soldiers resorted to opening cans with their bayonets and the like.
* The astronauts of the Mercury program did in fact eat their food from squeeze tubes. By the Gemini program, the victuals had been upgraded to freeze-dried food pouches and gelatin-coated bite-sized cubes. Only by Skylab did proper knife-and-fork dining finally arrive in space, aided by the invention of extra-thick, gluelike sauce all over everything (eating plain corn niblets in space remains an impossible proposition).
* Paul Bocuse, a famous French cook, said that his brother was against Paul's wish to become a gastronomer as he expected people to feed themselves with pills by the year 2000 and thus there wouldn't remain a place for cooking. Of course, this didn't come true, but remind that his and his brother's formative years were [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII in the 1940s]] and that favoring technophile solutions over subsidizing peasants in order to fundamentally fight hunger will not have been a too uncommon mindset at such a time.
* Like the quote above stated, Jelly Belly jellybeans come in over fifty flavors, including buttered popcorn, mango, and cotton candy. Several of the special lines of flavors, especially the "Bean-Boozled" and [[Literature/HarryPotter "Bertie Botts"]] lines, included other flavors from the bizarre to the [[NauseaFuel downright nasty]], including Birthday Cake, Dog Food, Vomit, Moldy Cheese, Skunk Spray and Spaghetti. Pretty much all of them are spot-on in taste at least (though how they figured out what Skunk Spray tasted like...)
** A lot of "taste" is actually smell in disguise. The tongue only tastes the eight basic flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami, cooling, pungent, and stringent); all the nuance comes from your sense of smell contributing. So if they can get the smell right, it'll probably taste about right too.
*** More impressively, some of their beans have the flavours of fizzy beverages... and they actually fizz! This is due to inclusion of a fizzy caramel, set under the CO2 high pressure.
* [[http://www.lifecaps.net/faq.html LifeCaps,]] and there are probably competitors.
* Some candy bars, like [[http://www.candywrappermuseum.com/bigeats.html Full Dinner]] seemed to imply that they had the nutritional content of nutritious food, rather than just empty calories.
* A recent article in Wired Magazine pointed out the flaws of food pills. Since the average human body needs roughly 2000 calories a day to stay alive, one would need to eat a half-pound of small pills (or a single giant half-pound) pill every day. This is because the four sources of calories (fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and, yes, alcohol) are very hard to compress into a single small pill. That does not factor in the necessary vitamins you would also need to stay healthy. Finally the article's writer asked why would you want a food pill when a hamburger is so much tastier.
** Moreover, a crucial stimulus for satiation -- the cessation of hunger -- comes from stretch receptors of the gastric lining and from the hormone ghrelin. Hunger centers in the human hypothalamus ''have'' to receive a signal that the stomach is physically distended before the urge to eat can switch off and the human brain has a constant unconscious awareness of the levels of fatty acids in the body. A few pills, even taken with a full glass of water, wouldn't occupy enough space to do that.
* Food pellets for pets. Especially considering what they naturally eat, it's a wonder they can even stand it.
** Note that food pellets manufactured for laboratory animals, like rats or rabbits, are often ''designed'' to be tasteless, so that alternative foods offered as a reward for completing experimental tasks will be more appealing.
** Pellets are also offered as an alternative to mixes, as it ensures the animal gets all the nutrition it needs instead of picking out only the bits it likes.
* Commercial bulk livestock feeds are like FoodPills for cattle, in every respect except compactness.
* [[http://davidszondy.com/future/futurepast.htm David Zondy's Tales of Future Past]] has a [[http://davidszondy.com/future/Living/futurefood.htm huge segment]] on [[FutureFoodIsArtificial Future Food]], and of course [[http://davidszondy.com/future/Living/foodpills.htm Food Pills]]. The best page is probably [[http://davidszondy.com/future/Living/synthetic_food.htm the one describing an attempt to put it into practice:]]
-->As part of a space experiment in 1965, twenty four men volunteered to be fed nothing but a food made from pure chemicals for nineteen weeks. I should say that that twenty four men started, but only fifteen finished. No, the other nine didn't starve to death. The experiment proved quite successful from a medical point of view and everyone who finished was perfectly healthy. It had more to do with the fact that the "food" wasn't even as solid a meal as a pill.\\
It was syrup. Looked like weak corn syrup. Tasted like weak corn syrup.\\
No wonder they had to be locked up for the duration of the experiment. One unguarded window and it was "Hello, cheeseburger!"
* Nutraloaf is a loaf of food (of various sorts) served in solitary confinement in US prisons, as it's filling, meets basic dietary needs, and requires no utensils, meaning no improvised weapons. It's also bad enough that lawsuits have been filed against it being served in some states, on the basis that it violates the law that food cannot be used as a punishment. Though, truth to be told, it's not as bad as it is ''bland'', and it's the blandness that drives its detractors nuts. Turns out that there's little people hate more than their food not tasting of anything in particular.
* [[http://www.compactforlife.com/seven-oceans-food-rations/ Sea survival food rations]] for use in lifeboats and liferafts are designed to be eaten once daily while surviving at sea after abandoning ship. They tend to taste very dry, but will give you the nutrition you need to get through the day.
* Polar expeditions, in addition to [=MREs=] and other lightweight rations, sometimes pack whole sticks of butter as an easy-to-carry, concentrated source of supplemental calories.
* In the years preceding the Second Lebanon War, [[IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles the IDF]] went to enormous length to avert this, feeding their soldiers what many would agree can be called bona fide delicacies - they may not have been gourmet meals, but they were often quite a fair bit better than what a soldier could get at home. This came back to bite them hard during the war itself, where many of the less experienced soldiers, who were used to eating rich, delicious meals ''refused'' to eat their emergency rations or whatever they could find on the battlefield, finding them too icky. Needless to say, this was a cause for massive embarrassment (and led to the creation of the derogatory term "Milky Soldiers,"[[note]]"Milky" being the name of a brand of Israeli desserts or snacks considered particularly decadent, essentially a cup of chocolate or vanilla pudding with whipped cream and various toppings packed with it[[/note]] from how supposedly the soldiers were given a cup of Milky with every second dinner), and the IDF has since come back to its senses and started feeding their frontline soldiers sensible, nutritious, filling, and moderately tasty food.
* A lot of camping and cold-weather rations use freeze-dried meals. For campers, this reduces bulk and weight and for cold weather, a normal ration would freeze. And all that's really needed for these meals is boiling hot water, so there's little concern with food contamination since you've already sterilized the water (hopefully).
* Behold the [[http://www.theplacesifindmyself.com/2013/05/31/notcand/ Clif Shot Blok,]] a diminutive "fruit-flavored energy chew" that measures in at just over 6 cubic centimeters per block. A single one is said to be enough to power half an hour demanding physical exercise, and while the chews themselves are said to be tasty, they're also clearly not going to be the least bit filling (proving the trope's limitations quite nicely). They also look like [[Franchise/TheTransformers Energon cubes]].
* [[DownplayedTrope For an alternate definition of "food"]], a lot of people take vitamin supplements of some sort. Obviously, it's impossible to subsist on them alone, but it's as close to TruthInTelevision as we've gotten so far.
* Ladies and gentlemen, we give you an actual, honest-to-god [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_(food_substitute) food replacement.]] Not a pill, but a shake--but one that can be made with no flavor and practically the consistency of water and yet filling. [[http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/03/176175513/bored-with-food-an-all-liquid-diet-is-not-such-a-hot-idea Rob]] [[http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/the-man-who-would-make-eating-obsolete/361058/ Rhinehart]] has made this [[https://www.soylent.com a reality]]. He even named the drink [[Film/SoylentGreen Soylent]]. Obviously, it is ''not'' people. However, it does have soy in it, which is why Creator/HarryHarrison ''called it that in the first place.'' No lentils though. Maybe in version 1.6.
* [[https://thesurvivaltabs.com/ Survival Tabs]] can't exactly be called ''pills'', and they're only meant to be used in survival situations, but they ''are'' most definitely designed to provide the greatest amount of nutrition possible in a single thumbnail-sized tablet. Take twelve daily.