Junk food in Italian

How do you translate junk food in Italian?

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and even talk about what other kinds of junk food there are in Italian.

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Junk food in Italian

First of all, let’s translate junk food in Italian.

Cibo spazzatura
Junk food

boy struggling to open a potato chips bag

Junk food in Italian – Let’s break it down!

Junk food literally means garbage food.


Garbage, trash

Il cibo spazzatura costa poco, ma fa male alla salute.
Junk food is cheap but bad for your health.

Junk is actually translated as ciarpame or cianfrusaglie. Here’s how you pronounce them:

Ciarpame, cianfrusaglie

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For example, you could say…

C’era un sacco di ciarpame sul pavimento.
There was a lot of junk on the floor.

Mio fratello compra spesso delle cianfrusaglie inutili.
My brother often buys useless junk.

old and useless pieces of furniture


We said that the most common translation for junk food in Italian is cibo spazzatura. Cibo is a masculine noun (IL).

Un cibo
A (kind of) food

Dei cibi
Some (kinds of) food

Il cibo
The food

I cibi
The foods

Some common expressions with cibo are…

Cibo fresco
Fresh food

Cibo biologico
Organic food

Cibo prelibato
Delicious food, delicacy

For example, you could say:

Preferisco il cibo fresco a quello confezionato.
I prefer fresh food to packaged food.

Il cibo biologico è più caro, ma è anche più salutare.
Organic food is more expensive, but it is also healthier.

Il caviale è un cibo prelibato.
Caviar is a delicacy.

tin of caviar

Kinds of junk food in Italian

What kinds of junk food can you find in Italian? Here are some suggestions!

Le patatine fritte
French fries

La merendina (preconfezionata)
The (prepackaged) snack

La crema spalmabile
The spreadable cream (like Nutella)

La bevanda zuccherata
The sugary drink

The hamburger

three hamburgers

For example, you could say…

Non si dovrebbero mai bere le bevande zuccherate.
Sugary drinks should never be drunk.

Le merendine contengono molti grassi e poche fibre.
Snacks contain a lot of fat and little fiber.

Gli hamburger contengono tantissimi conservanti.
Hamburgers contain lots of preservatives.

Junk food in Italian – Examples

Quali sono alcuni tipi di cibo spazzatura?
What are some types of junk food?

Il cibo spazzatura fa ingrassare e ha pochi nutrienti.
Junk food is fattening and low in nutrients.

Le patatine fritte sono cibo spazzatura.
French fries are junk food.

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