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Prawn Cocktail – Your Days Are Numbered. Here’s how to cater events for a foodie generation

Blog post   •   Dec 05, 2018 08:05 GMT

Once upon a time the term foodie was associated with high culture and an elite fortunate enough to eat Michelin Starred chef-d’oeuvres while the rest of us ate cold sandwiches.

But the frenzy for fine cooking has seen dramatic growth and democratization on a global scale. While Gen Xers have embraced the trend with fervor, millennials have made of it a true religion and are using social media to apostatize obscure kombucha brands, Peruvian small plates and artful acai bowls. They’re flocking to cooking classes thanks to the likes of AirBnB Experiences and demanding food that caters to specific diets. The research firm Mintel reports a 92% rise in vegan products globally since 2014.

We are also spending a good portion of our earnings on dining experiences so when it comes to events, it’s no wonder our expectations are higher than ever before.

As reported in our M&E trends report, 2019 will be all about the attendee experience. If you’re an event organizer, you won’t be able to get away with bland buffets and prawn cocktail anymore.

Be fearless and invest time and money on thinking about food and beverage. Build imaginative and mouth-watering menus that will delight your audience. If things go haywire, at least they will remember the great food and you will get priceless Instagram likes out of your event.

Here are some tips you might want to consider if you want to be successful in catering for a foodie generation:

  • Be creative. Go beyond traditional proposals and try a more adventurous mix. We live in the era of fusion where attendees are as familiar with poke bowls as regional Spanish tapas so go for new dishes to surprise your attendees.
  • Be bold. You can even go extreme and propose something in the line of grasshopper tacos. Edible insects might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you will generate some excitement and a great conversation topic for networking during the breaks.
  • Be conscious. The demand for healthy and sustainably-sourced food is skyrocketing. Go for healthy, tasty and responsible options. Your audience will love it.
  • Go local. One of the joys of traveling is tasting the local cuisine and discovering new flavors. Remember how sad your life was before discovering chili crab, gazpacho, ceviche, and arepas? Give attendees the chance to enjoy local dishes. Even if they’ve tried the dish before, it will taste better than any version sampled abroad.
  • Be neat. Work on presentation - Desserts presented Cake Boss style, small nibbles in beautiful ceramic bowls, artfully carved vegetables… Amaze with your set-up skills and pictures of your event will hit social media like a storm.
  • Embrace festivalization – It’s a trend for next year, so go for food trucks or stalls to get that festive feel.
  • Think of activities around food – Plug into a worldwide Master Chef frenzy, with activities around food. Allow your attendees to learn how to cook a local dish or do tastings in the finest eateries. Your audience will bond over trying to fold a dumpling properly or identify an unlabeled wine, and talk about your event long after it’s over.

Blog author: Paz Martos, Managing Director Spain, CWT Meetings & Events.

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