You’ve got everything planned–your speakers are lined up, your venue looks amazing, your sponsors are ready to go. But what about the food? In the world of Instagram, the same old bagged lunch and “rubber chicken” will no longer fly. Part of creating an event experience that will wow your attendees includes staying on top of the culinary trends that resonate with audiences, particularly with the ever-growing millennial demographic.
Now that we’re nearly halfway through 2017–believe it or not–what are the food trends that are emerging as the hottest of the year? Is the food truck craze still enough to give your event its own culinary cache, or do you need to reach into your bag of tricks?
Read on for our tips on the best trends. (And yes, food trucks will always be encouraged.)
Go Local. Start by thinking of your host city–are they known for any culinary delights? Be sure to incorporate local cuisine into your offerings for meals and snacks, including drinks at any evening receptions. Foodie attendees will be excited to sample local flavor as a part of their overall experience, and local vendors will be glad for the business and exposure to your audience.
Connect with popular local food trucks for a creative afternoon snack option that has the added bonus of getting your attendees out into the fresh air.
Classics with a Twist. One craze that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? Nostalgia. From the surge of classic TV reboots making their way to the small screen to the popularity of fashion trends we thought had died 20 years ago, everything old is new again–and that includes trends for food. One trend we love includes taking a nostalgic dish and adding a twist, particularly with finger foods and sweets (think fried mac-n-cheese balls and kiddie cereal ice cream toppings).
Get Healthy. You probably already know the buzz-words. “Farm-to-table,” “gluten-free,” “net carbs.” The healthy trend continues to be hot–especially with younger audiences. No one wants to pack on pounds due to business travel–always be sure to include options for attendees hoping to keep it healthy. From vegetarian and gluten-free options to high-protein energy snacks like nuts and healthy smoothies in place of sugary treats, providing healthy options will ensure happy attendees.
Need more advice on giving your event a health boost? Check out our post on Happy & Healthy Events!
New Flavors. Unless you’re a chef, you’ve probably heard more about cumin and tumeric in the last year than you had in the previous ten combined. More and more dishes are branching out to include different spices and savory flavors. (There was only so far we could go with that Siracha craze, right?) Embrace this trend, but try not to go too far and end up with a roomful of upset stomachs.
Creative Cocktails. While we continue to advise not going overboard on drinks at evening events, creating a delicious craft cocktail to serve to attendees at your networking happy hour or nighttime reception is one way to make your event memorable. This is another area where putting a creative spin on a classic can give you that boost of nostalgia!
What are your favorite recent food experiences at events? Let us know in the comments!