I know food can be fed to tribbles to help them multiply and hopefully different food will lead to different tribbles. This in itself seems pretty interesting but with the variety of various food stuffs available I have to wonder if there is more, and if not, what else could there be?
Perhaps similar to delivering commodities to planets, certain foodstuffs could be collected for a diplomats favorite meal.
Maybe selling Ferengi food to a Ferengi could be more profitable than selling it to a non Ferengi.
Food could be used as a form of crafting which leads to the creation of meals which could be sold for decent credit or given to an npc who will give you awards based on your level and the complexity of the meal or related recipe.
Otherwise, I am missing the reason for the interesting variety of food that is available and would love to be enlightened.
First of all, you can use food to regain HP on the ground.
Second, every food item is a ST reference of some kind. By making all the different kinds of food, they managed to add a bit more ST lore into the game. Hypospray would have done the same for healing, but not been as fun.
As far as I can tell, the variety means nothing. All food and drinks are basically the same. Eat it or drink it and you get a heal over time. The only differences seem to be the ammount healed. And as far as tribbles go, I don't think the type of food has any bearing on the type of tribble you get. I am currently testing this in my bank though. I'll post the results when I am sure.