This first gastronomic society in the world was founded in 1933 by French-born André Simon (1877-1970), Alphonse James Albert Symons (1900-1941) and a few friends, with its headquarters in London. It is not for profit. Its main objective is to promote the cultivated use of high-quality luxury foods and beverages such as food and wine. This is based on the principle "Not much, but the best". The members are primarily consumers but also producers. At the same time the magazine "Wine and Food" was founded, whose first editor was André Simon. At the time of the foundation of the society, there was a great economic depression. But the end of prohibition in the USA, especially in the year of its foundation, greatly favoured the growth of the membership.
Today the IWFS is organized in three regions: Europe and Africa, Asia and the Pacific and America. There are about 130 branches in 40 countries worldwide with about 6,500 members. The individual branches organize lunch and dinner events, wine tastings, lectures and gastronomic trips. As early as 1935, a vintage table for wines was published, in which the vintages are assessed by a professional committee. This table is updated annually. Honorary presidents are prominent figures in the wine industry, such as Michael Broadbent from 1984 to 1992 and Hugh Johnson from 2002 to 2008, and many similar organisations, such as Slow Food, have since been established.