Food for Thought: Making Meetings Healthier

It’s no wonder that food menu is the silent player in making the association events a success. The delegates attending the meeting always have high expectation from the venue and the food and beverage as well. Today more than ever, meeting and conference delegates have sophisticated tastes. It’s also likely that a large number of attendees are health- or eco- conscious, and many have dietary restrictions such as dairy or gluten sensitivities. The chefs and meeting planners must consider a number of factors before just presenting a pretty platter.

More vegetables:

Since past several years, the association event delegates are becoming more vegetable forward and putting the meat secondary. Grilled cucumber, roasted cauliflower and beets are getting a new place on today’s menus and meat is becoming a side dish in menu design. The attendees are interested in spiraled vegetables, cut into long and thin ribbons, added to menus in place of pasta, and ordering main dishes focused on vegetables first. The idea is to keep the cuisine colorful which drags the attention of the attendees.

Farm to table cuisine:

Conference delegates gravitate to the freshly made home grown items with wholesome ingredients that provide a pick me-up and energy throughout their day. The farm-to-table trend has encouraged more venues to add in-season, locally grown produce and locally sourced meat and fish to their menus. It’s not just soups and sauces that are made fresh from local ingredients anymore. Everything from scratch baked bread to house churned butter to fresh mozzarella and granola bars are making their way onto break tables and buffet bars.

Drink variations:

Creating signature drinks for an event or venue can make an experience stand out. High-end drinks without alcohol, but with flavors and bubbles are in vogue. In addition, fresh-squeezed juices are often a huge hit with meeting delegates both for their nutritious content and their flavor.   Offering a variety of both iced and hot teas and coffees is popular with meeting delegates. From Ginger Chai to Mint Green Tea, anything with ice or swirled foamed milk on top is sure to impress.

The industry experts, meeting planners and venues must stay on the pulse of the industry and provide the types of services that keep pace not only with trends, but also with the lifestyles expectations of attendees.