A replicator is a device that utilises transporter technology to create objects. It dematerialises quantities of matter and then rematerialise the matter in a desired form. It was also capable of acting in reserve by de-constructing items and storing their matter for latter use.
By the 24th century Federation vessels were widely equipped with replicators, which served as the main source of foods and beverages for the crew. The quality of replicated foods and beverages were the same as the "real" thing, though some individuals claimed to be able to tell the difference between a replicated version and the real one.