Let’s be honest about this. Tastebud-tantalising food and drink is a deal-breaker, providing much more than sustenance to your assembled delegates and guests. So, it’s important to serve up what they want and if you’re going to win their hearts via their stomachs.
And circa 2023, we’re seeing increasingly higher volumes of health consciousness, price sensitivity and sustainability savvy. This all adds up to many different appetites to cater for.
So, let’s dive straight in to some of the key food and drinks trends to bear in mind.
Heightened Focus on Sustainability (this is a ginormous one!)
With the introduction of event sustainability measurement tools and the Net Zero Events roadmap, you’re better equipped to make supplier decisions based on alignment with your sustainability goals.
So, think about fairer fayre that matches your company values, and also the values that are becoming progressively important to your target audiences, such as –
- Enhanced plant-based alternatives –The days of fobbing off your vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians with a token vegetable lasagne are long gone! Now is the time to level up the playing field with more and exciting options, including upcoming ingredients like lab-grown meat substitutes, tempeh and seitan.
- ‘Locavore’ menus – According to a recent Waitrose survey in Speciality Food Magazine, 22% of people surveyed “now consider the number of air miles a product takes to get to the shelf”. In fact, the results showed that “the strictest will even stick to a 100-mile radius” when buying meat, vegetables and dairy. It’s a major incentive to choose venues that collaborate with local farms to shorten their food chains.
- Less waste, more recycling – If anything disposable HAS to be used – such as napkins, plastic cups, cutlery and paper plates – make sure in advance that your venue buys biodegradables and also provides the correct recycling facilities.
Immersive Taste Experiences
The combination of food and theatre is an inventive double whammy. It satisfies hunger, quenches thirst and entertains all in one!
For example, the medieval banqueting table, heaving with game, root vegetables, rustic bread and heady mead, is a surefire winner if you’ve got overseas visitors. Alternatively, film and television continue to provide some impressive event themes. They’re ideal for creating bespoke menus to tie in with the most iconic scenes.
Wave goodbye to clock watching and worrying about finishing early for lunch or late for dinner. Grazing restaurants at venues give you the freedom to take a more casual and relaxed approach to event schedules. It’s fresh, fuss-free and non-restrictive.
No Pre-Orders Required
It’s the sort of thing an event planner dreams of… and then the alarm clock goes off! But just before you get too over-excited, beware that the removal of pre-orders something of a trade-off. It has to be, when you think about it logically.
It’s brilliant for you, because you don’t have to spend too much time chasing up people’s food choices. But it’s usually the case that venues can only be this flexible by offering an extremely limited menu. Plus, there are often and understandably longer waiting times for food service after orders have been taken.
People are consuming different, more imaginative beverages than the humble cuppa. And you, too, can upscale your day delegate rate or your gala dinner by introducing beverages such as –
- Non-alcoholic spirits – Soft drinks have never been so sassy! The evolution of non-alcoholic spirits has changed the game, from a gin-free G&T, to a superior non-alcoholic cocktail that’s no longer just a booze-free fancy soft drink.
- Health and wellness boosters – Give your delegates the best start to the day. Uplevel the buffet breakfast with Kombucha, turmeric shots and supergreen smoothies.
At Brightspace Events, we’re here to help you inspire people through the power of events. That includes advising you about what’s hot and what’s not on menus and behind bars.
Get in touch if event planning is on your remit this year. We’ll happily chat through the key ingredients you need for event success, and what we can bring to the table.