Food Trends – Should Event Managers Care?
28th February 2018
From ice cream tacos to Goth foods, it feels like a new food trend emerges every week, filling our Instagram feeds with the weird and wonderful (who knew avocados were so photogenic?). Food can be an integral part of our events, so should we care about all the latest food fads?
Food trends of the past
Marbled wedding cakes became a popular favourite in 2015, Prosecco made a splash on our events in 2016 and unicorn-inspired food turned our parties into pastel coloured dreams in 2017.
According to Eventbrite, 84% of food festival attendees are likely to post pictures of food while at an event, meaning keeping up with the latest food trends may not only keep your audience happy, it’s also free advertising (yay!).
2018 – The year of the Vegan
120,000 people pledged to give up meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey for 31 days as part of the ‘Veganuary’ phenomenon, making 2018 the year of the Vegan! According to the Vegan Society, Veganism is one of the UK’s fastest growing lifestyle choices with at least 542,000 people now following the plant-based diet.
This years trend is already taking the events industry by storm, most recently the BAFTA’s served their first ever vegan starter in 71 years, with no meat alternative. So should we be following in BAFTA’s footsteps?
The UK population are becoming more and more aware of what they are eating (£187million was spent on avocados in 2016!). Factors such as sustainability and clean living being some of the most talked about topics when it comes to veganism. Although the national average of those who follow a vegan lifestyle is below 1%, research by 30 Euston Square shows the number of vegans attending events is around 6.8%. Can we afford to miss them out and leave them hungry?
So what should we do?
Associating yourself with up and coming caterers that are leading the way with exciting food options can keep your events current. Nobody wants to be stuck with Bob’s Boring Burgers! Should food trends be top of your priority list? Supply and demand isn’t a myth, people want what’s relevant and if your event isn’t providing it, you could be left in the dust.
One event with food trends at the top of their priority list is Shambala festival. They have made the choice to go completely meat and fish free, embracing the trend for clean and sustainable living. They pride themselves on their history of pioneering new initiatives, giving the festival a unique edge. You may think this is a lot of effort, but by embracing food trends you can cover many bases. For example, vegan options can often cater for those with dairy and egg allergies, vegetarians, pescatarians and those with health, religious or cultural dietary requirements. Making food trends a statement rather than an afterthought may put your event on the map.
But does it really matter?
With so many factors requiring our attention to make events happen, is there any point in putting time, money and effort into the latest craze when most don’t last? When was the last time you saw a bubble tea van at an event? Some things just don’t stick around. Finding creative caterers to provide the latest food trends at your event can be costly, multiple specialist ingredients, plus additional time and expertise, could make your budget that little bit tighter. Not to mention the extra hours involved in tracking them down and brainstorming new ideas.
Also, the UK festival industry creates 23,500 tonnes of waste a year and catering to the new vegan trend could add to this ever-increasing problem. Catering to multiple dietary requirements can create more food waste, adding to the already ridiculous 7.3 million tonnes of food we throw away every year.
So if following current food trends can cost more money, create more food waste and take up more of our time, should Event Managers really care? For example, vegans do only make up less than 1% of our population, so is there really a demand?
- What impact do food trends have on your events?
- Do you think this should be a priority?
- What are your expectations of food when you’re attending an event?
- Does it have an impact on your enjoyment?
- Are you even aware of food trends being replicated at events?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, whether you’re an event professional or an event attendee!