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Meeting & event food trends

May 20, 2014 | Blog

With men thinking about food on average 18 times a day and women on average 15 times a day; it is most definitely an important factor when organising any event or meeting.

In a study, commissioned by Warwick Conferences, carried out last year it was found that food is often a source of conflict between delegates and event bookers. Results showed that 79% per cent of delegates and event attendees were disappointed by a venue’s catering in the 12 months prior to the study. One of the main reasons cited for the disappointment was limited choice, with 49% citing this as a problem and one in five delegates having found catering inappropriate for their dietary requirements.

Many venues are striving to throw off the reputation for providing repetitive and uninspiring food at meetings and events. Here we take a look at the food and beverage trends developing in the industry.

Seasonal and local food are extremely popular, and for good reason. Delegates are becoming more conscious about where their food comes from, for reasons of health and the environment. Seasonal and locally produced food tends to be fresher, more nutritious and more sustainable.

Many venues have been incorporating super-foods, like blueberries, quinoa and pine nuts, because they are packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and nutrients to benefit body and mind. Gluten-free alternatives are also becoming much more prevalent with many conference venues and hotels designing entire menus to be gluten-free.

It’s not just healthy food that is on the rise; gourmet junk food like mini brioche burgers and chilli-dogs are being incorporated into event menus and cocktail receptions. Given the choice many people do not go for the healthy options so these fun snacks are a great way to add a little indulgence onto the menu.

Grazing dishes and street-style foods are a huge trend for 2014 with many venues incorporating tasting dishes onto their menus, setting up cooking stations or even creating a street market environment with food stalls or trucks. Street food showcases different international cuisines from Mediterranean style foods like flatbreads and falafel to Asian noodles or Mexican tacos, providing people with a huge range of choice and adding an element of fun and adventure.

It isn’t just food that is getting an overhaul within the industry. Unusual beverage choices are finding their way onto many menus. Locally produced craft beers and spirits, or craft cocktails revisiting flavours of the past but with the latest of mixology methods provide an interesting element to evening events. These unusual beverages can be combined with a tasting session if you want to bring an interesting activity into the event proceedings.

These trends certainly show that many venues are striving to provide exciting and thoughtful alternatives to the normal event food offering. I hope that these ideas will also inspire you when choosing the menus for your next event.

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