Event and meeting planners nowadays are receiving ever more requests for specialty foods. Growing numbers of delegates, they say, are requesting so-called “superfoods.”
Superfoods are foods—mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy—that claim to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one's health.
Popular superfoods include blueberries, tree nuts (such as walnuts), quinoa, acai berries, avocados, beets, spinach, kale, dark chocolate, and salmon.
Because many superfoods allegedly improve mental stamina and alertness, they are sometimes also called “brainfoods.”
Some people claim superfoods can positively influence mental clarity by energising B group vitamins, relieving stress by supplying magnesium, and enhancing body energy distribution because of their low glycaemic load.
In one recent US survey, 38 per cent of event venue managers said they offer specific “brain foods” on their menus. In addition, 88 per cent said they have adjusted their break menus in response to health and wellness trends or feedback from clients.
One trend, for example, is for growing numbers of delegates to request food options with lower sugar, fat, and salt content. Others are requesting foods that are ethically sourced, locally produced, organic, GMO-free, or sustainable in nature.
Consider, for example, some of the most popular snack and break items now being provided by health-conscious event managers:
- Fruits, vegetable and cheese platters
- Milk choices: full fat, skimmed, soy, almond
- Popcorn, dried and fresh fruits
- Dark chocolate
- High protein items like nuts, seeds and eggs
- Homemade energy bars made with super-grains & alternative sweeteners to sugar (such as fig puree)
- Drink stations with fruit/cucumber/mint infused water
- Baked goods with less fat and sugar
For lunch and dinners, many venues are removing fat laden-sauces, or gluten-free and dairy-free sauce options.
Some of the more popular items include:
- More plant-based foods with no GMOs
- Vegetarian options
- Salad bars with more protein choices and whole-grain salads
- Hot food bars with less fried food
- More fish of different types (beyond salmon)
- More broiled and grilled proteins, especially fish.
- Super-food blends with quinoa, freekeh, millet, bulgur
- Healthy house made soups
Considering the growing awareness and importance of healthy eating among meeting delegates world-wide—and being willing to pay for them—it’s not surprising that more and more venue managers are now providing healthier eating options.
Meeting and event managers can provide a trendy point of difference from their competitors by offering delegates specialty foods that people generally associate with increased health benefits.