In Star Trek: Voyager, we primarily see various gourds and other alien vegetables in Neelix's kitchen, and most of the food we see replicated is vegetarian, like an instance of Paris ordering tomato soup, though Paris also does at one point express a craving for pepperoni pizza, and Neelix in another episode regrets to inform the Markonian visitors that has has run out of "marsupial surprise."

In Star Trek VI, the dinner scene shows mostly unrecognizable blue food, probably a pasta of some sort, and nothing identifiable as meat. Similarly, in the galley scene later in the same movie, most of the food seen is either vegetable or baked goods. Star Trek IV has the pizza and beer scene, and of course they have to take the pizza to go, so we don't know if Kirk likes pepperoni (Memory Alpha asserts that Kirk, despite claiming to like Italian, was unfamiliar with the size of a full pizza).

I can't remember much eating in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Captain Picard seems to subsist solely on Earl Grey tea, if a remember correctly); what I do remember humans eating was mostly unrecognizable, but definitely not meat.

The main source of meat-eating in the canon is in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (which in general has a lot of societal differences, like the existence of real money, from other Star Trek series): Sisko's father is a Louisianan, and has a Creole restaurant in New Orleans, which from our sensibilities would almost certainly include fish and shellfish, but maybe not. In the episode of Worf's "bachelor party" and wedding we see plenty of meat, which O'Brien and Bashir certainly don't turn their noses up at, but it is a Klingon ritual after all (however Bashir proceeds to order a steak from Quark when it looks like the wedding's off).

So, while there are a few references to meat sprinkled through the canon, primarily recently-written canon (Discovery/Voyager/Enterprise) and often in reference to one or more alien races, it seems that animal protein is a rarity for humans through most of the canon. I can think of two reasons:

  • Most of the canon takes place aboard ship; even for senior officers, meat aboard a starship 1000 light-years from the nearest industrialized planet, would be a rare delicacy.
  • The human race, in its societal turnaround from near-self-destruction after meeting the Vulcans, largely lost their taste for red meat, focusing on different, possibly less environmentally harmful, forms of agriculture.

Earlier canon seems to indicate more the latter, while episodes and movies written after Roddenberry's death seem to take more license and the lack of meat is due to practical difficulties. Anyone have any official sources on this topic?

  • 25
    Does replicated meat still count as meat in the vegetarian/omnivore debate?
    – Xantec
    Dec 14, 2012 at 20:46
  • 2
    Humans stopped eating meat? I doubt it. Maybe in space, but when on a planet with free-running meat (I mean animals) if they are not endangered, they're dinner! Dec 14, 2012 at 21:13
  • 7
    Kirk, TOS, "The Trouble with Tribbles": "My chicken sandwich and coffee. This is my chicken sandwich and coffee." Dec 15, 2012 at 2:04
  • 1
    “Captain Picard seems to subsist solely on Earl Grey tea” — croissant aussi. Mar 28, 2017 at 6:52

6 Answers 6


From the question:

In the episode of Worf's "bachelor party" and wedding we see plenty of meat, which O'Brien and Bashir certainly don't turn their noses up at, but it is a Klingon ritual after all (however Bashir proceeds to order a steak from Quark when it looks like the wedding's off).

That alone seems fairly definitive to me. Long-time vegetarians have some difficulty digesting meat, and are unlikely to order a steak.

Within canon, there is a possible contradiction:

  • In TNG 1x07, Lonely Among Us, Riker claims that humans eat only replicated meat (However, this may have simply been to placate the Anticans).
  • In TNG 4x12, The Wounded, O'Brien claimed that his mother used real, unreplicated meat when cooking. He also enjoys bacon and eggs for breakfast.

That said, a lot of different meats were eaten:

  • In TOS 2x13, The Trouble with Tribbles, Kirk ordered a chicken sandwich from the food synthesizer. He was quite dismayed to get tribbles instead.
  • In DS9 4x06, Starship Down, Sisko asks Kira to get the hot dogs from Quark's (and has to reassure her that no, it isn't a heated canine).
  • In VOY 6x24, Life Line, Dr. Zimmerman orders pork chops, but his assistant brings him a salad instead, claiming it's more healthy.
  • In DS9 6x07, You Are Cordially Invited, this was Bashir's meal: Steak with baked potato
  • 5
    In Sins of the Father Picard serves real caviar from Earth, implied to be from his personal stock. There is also "burned, replicated bird meat" served in this episode.
    – Xantec
    Dec 14, 2012 at 21:16
  • 2
    Fricandeau stew was supposed to be Chief Miles O'Brien's favorite food, and was supposed to contain meat. Considering Miles was raised on "real food" it seems likely he would want actual (replicated) meat and not just flavoring.
    – Xantec
    Dec 14, 2012 at 21:18
  • 1
    There was also the scene in Broken Bow of Enterprise where Trip, Archer and T'Pol where having dinner for the first time and Trip made a joke about wanting to see how T'Pol would "Tackle the spare ribs"
    – Monty129
    Dec 14, 2012 at 22:52
  • 1
    So the answer overall is most likely a bit of both; meat's rare in space (no pun intended), and overall, humans eat less of it, though we are still true omnivores and do enjoy a good steak or hamburger when we can get it.
    – KeithS
    Dec 28, 2012 at 22:36
  • 2
    And in The Assignment en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_Assignment_(episode) Nog mentions that Bacon & Eggs is the brekafast of choice for the engineering night shift aboard DS9 (The bacon disagrees with him - so when he switches to day shift he starts ordering pancakes instead)
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 28, 2014 at 13:43

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1, Episode 6 “Lonely Among Us”:

Commander William T. Riker: We no longer enslave animals for food purposes.

Badar N'D'D: But we have seen Humans eat meat. Commander.

William T. Riker: You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat, but inorganically materialized, out of patterns used by our transporters.


I grew up with TNG in which I remember Riker saying that they no longer killed animals and Picard saying they didn't exploit them anymore.

And I understood that anytime I saw them eat meat it was replicated meat, or would allow it in the position of honoring another species traditions. I always assumed they were vegetarian and no longer exploited animals and never questioned it - until branching out into other Star Treks that is. Like how Dr Phlox has a small zoo of lab animals on the Enterprise. Which I felt contradicted what I heard Picard and Riker say in TNG. But I assumed humans may still be too young then.

But then in the new movie Into Darkness they have Tribbles as lab animals.

I have a hard time believing that as a more evolved and ethical species- we would not become vegetarians. ESPECIALLY considering our ties with Vulcans and how Vulcans showed us so much more than we knew of life.
In reality- I think their ways would have taken more of a hold on us. And helped shape our evolution.
It just makes sense that they we would be deeply culturally impacted by them.

It is perfectly logical to assume we became vegetarian and no longer exploited animals when our missions in space made us see all life as worthy of freedom and happiness. But...not many seem to hold this same logical view. Even the most die hard Trekkies I've met don't agree with me and always cite examples of them eating meat (ignoring that it was always replicated or in honor of another species' tradition)

My opinion then is that even those that watch Star trek- are not as evolved and advanced as the characters they imagine in the future. Most people simply do not want to face that their own practices are illogical, irrational, or less evolved than they could be.

It would be like showing a culture of slavery an image of a future with better versions of themselves where they no longer kept slaves- they would not believe it or allow it to be their understanding of what being "better" would entail. fictional story or not- People do not like to face certain things in themselves.

So I believe the answer to this is a matter of opinion- and a matter of what each individual can reflect from themselves.

I think that's how Gene Roddenberry would have wanted it....

(taken from an interview with Roddenberry)

Roddenberry: It would have to be similar to the philosophy of Star Trek because Star Trek is my statement to the world. Understand that Star Trek is more than just my political philosophy. It is my social philosophy, my racial philosophy, my overview on life and the human condition. I have been able to comment on so many different facets of humanity because both Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation have been so wide-ranging in the subjects they’ve covered.

My philosophy about the use of animals has changed. I am not yet a vegetarian, but I don’t feel comfortable as a meat eater knowing a lot of the things that go on to put meat on the table.

Alexander: I remember the character of Commander Riker on the current series commenting on how it was no longer necessary for animals to be raised for food. Twenty-fourth century technology could create an analog of meat so that all the things associated with bringing meat to the table were no longer necessary.

Roddenberry: I look forward to that day coming. We would have our juicy T-bone steak without having to kill the animal. I feel different way about domestic animals now. I am a bit queasy about the way we raise our chickens and beef cattle and so on. It’s really ugly.

Alexander: You’re talking about factory farms?

Roddenberry: Yes, it is just not a good thing. I also look forward to when we will contact other races and other life forms. What will our attitude be toward them? If we are not careful, we may see sentient life that is so different we won’t realize it is sentient. Because the creatures we meet don’t act and interact as we do, we might consider them valuable — much as many people disdain dolphins and whales today.

Alexander: I was just thinking that we are not particularly good with the other sentient beings on our own planet.

Roddenberry: On the hand, we are making marvelous progress. We humans are really growing rapidly now. It is largely a product of television and communications. Our attitudes are changing with remarkable speed. I am glad to be in drama, because I think that I, along with other writers, can make great changes in our world because of the power of sound and image that is often as real to people as their own lives.

  • 2
    While the early episodes of TNG were very idealistic in this and many other regards - we eventually see occasions in TNG and DS9, at least, where it is obvious that humans still eat some amount of "real" meat (could you imagine Sisko's father using replicated ingredients?)
    – HorusKol
    Jun 2, 2013 at 21:51
  • Enterprise happens in the mid 22nd century, while TNG takes place in the mid 24th century. Even if you considered Phlox's use of blood worms and other animals for medical purposes (almost never in a way that actually harms the animal) exploitative, that doesn't preclude the TNG statements from being correct. But, yes, I agree with you and Gene. One day, it's likely that eating any slaughtered meat will be as unpalatable to most people as animal abuse is today. There's already some backlash against veal and animal cruelty in the meat and fur industries, likewise with horse and dog/cat meat. Jun 3, 2013 at 4:47
  • 10
    -1 for irrelevant moral grandstanding. It is necessary for your point to cite in-universe mentions of all meat as replicated (which you can't do: see existing answers/comments for examples of explicitly non-replicated meat in Star Trek). Or alternatively, a definitive statement from one of the series creators that all meat in ST is replicated (Roddenberry's ramblings on the general subject of eating meat do not satisfy this requirement). Your personal opinions of your fellow fans' morality are extremely irrelevant.
    – Wolfie Inu
    Oct 26, 2015 at 5:31
  • The attacks on “most people” are indeed your personal opinion and have no place in an answer. They should be edited accordingly. As should Roddenberry’s quotes as they add nothing of relevance.
    – BangBang
    Jan 25 at 9:38

In season 6, Episode 26 of Deep Space 9; at the end of the episode, Sisko is in an alley in the back of his father's restaurant cleaning oysters in New Orleans. I am assuming at some point they will be served in the restaurant. If they were replicated oysters why would he be cleaning them?


From TNG: "We no longer enslave animals for food purposes" - Riker to alien ambassador on the Enterprise

Check it out:

  • The eaten animals were all volunteers. Jan 25 at 1:38

I would say that in the time of TOS, carnivory is still very much alive and well. In the episode "All Our Yesterdays", McCoy and Spock are sent back into Sarpeidon's ice-age past. They meet Zarabeth, who takes them in and offers them food which was obviously some sort of cooked meat from a slaughtered animal. Although Spock initially hesitates, he gives in to the reality of the situation, later expressing surprise at how he enjoyed it. On the other hand, McCoy seemed to take it in stride - strongly suggesting that he is well accustomed to eating meat from real animals.

Although the food synthesizers aboard ship are undoubtedly serving up items which reproduce "the real thing" (Kirk's chicken sandwich in "The Trouble With Tribbles" and the chicken soup offered to the base security airman in "Tomorrow is Yesterday"), it seems to suggest that the crew are accustomed to eating "real" animal-sourced food items. They presumably accept the synthetic versions aboard ship due to the realities of provisioning on long-duration space travel.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.