In an ever changing event industry, delegate tastes are evolving. With a shift toward socially responsible and experiential events, guests are asking for a lot more than basic nourishment or meal options that meet dietary needs.

Here are five ways you can step up your event’s culinary game.

Local Inspiration

Most venues and catering teams pride themselves on serving regional specialties, but local is taking on a whole new meaning. Guests are increasingly interested in knowing what local farm their meat is sourced from, where their fish is caught or what seasonal vegetables were incorporated into the menu.

There’s a sense of pride in eating local, and allowing guests to experience home-grown and seasonal food items helps to deliver on their overall event satisfaction level.

Local Wine and Craft Beer

The quest for local everything extends beyond veggies and cuts of meat. Popular choices for beverages now include local estate wines and regional craft beers.

Work with your venue to incorporate unique food and beverage offerings into your event menu. Try and expose guests to local traditions, including culinary offerings, to give delegates a true taste of the region’s culture and hospitality and leave them with lasting memories of your conference.

Healthy and Sustainable Food

More organizations are now factoring sustainability into their event menu. Venues and catering teams should expect to see increased demand for offerings such as sustainable seafood, as well as healthy menu items that are locally sourced and organic, fairly traded, seasonal, and not processed.

Ask your catering team to purposely work imperfect fruits and vegetables, which might otherwise be thrown out, into your menu. Another option is to donate your event leftovers to the local food bank to help reduce food waste and support social good.

Grab and Go

Table service has its time and place, but with increased demands and busy schedules, interest in highly convenient, portable food is growing. Guests want the flexibility of grabbing breakfast on the way to a session, or refuelling while they wait for the perfect moment to introduce themselves to an industry contact.

Portable snack food options free up time for delegates to mingle and network in between re-energizing from the tradeshow floor.

Comfort Food

While practical, comfort food options are expected, such as wraps and sandwiches, we’re seeing a lot of traditional favourites reborn with more sophisticated pairings or unexpected flavours. For example, grilled apricots, mascarpone cheese, blackberries and honey combine together for an amazing dessert. And, believe it or not, potato chips and a champagne like Veuve Clicquot go great together.

Nothing makes someone feel more satisfied than amazing food, and a big part of hosting involves feeding. Take pride in the quality of the food you serve by incorporating some of these simple considerations to your event culinary offerings.