Food trends change faster than popcorn pops since the era of TikTok chefs, but the broad strokes that rule meetings and events catering remain the same: sustainability, cost effectiveness and the widest possibly appeal. Luckily, those goals are all achievable in new and interesting ways! From upcycling programs to standalone dining experiences and tons of local flavour, Montréal offers event professionals all sorts of trendy opportunities.
After the pandemic left everyone feeling boxed in and bored, 2023 is very much about “experiences.” Data of popular search items from the restaurant review hub Yelp found a massive spike in searches for “underwater restaurants” and “dinner theatres” over the last year.
In Montréal, food-forward venues like Le Balcon, Time Supper Club and Yoko Luna all provide singular environments and can be rented for small or large groups. In the warmer months, how about renting a craft with AML Cruises or Bateau Mouche and dining while touring the St. Lawrence River? In the winter, small groups can dine under glass domes amid the snow at Restaurant Bivouac or on the Terrasse William Gray. Make memories for your delegates by mixing mealtime with a group activity with either cooking classes or tastings by local outfits like Ateliers & Saveurs – or hire one of Montréal’s many food tours.
Uplift, upgrade, upcycle
Food Business News reported the trend for sustainable, upcycled and zero-waste foods is only growing in 2023.
Providing QR codes linking to a microsite with spotlights on local, organic and sustainable food and drink choices can put the emphasis on an organization’s laudable initiatives on that front. Montréal companies like Loop are great ambassadors for the upcycle life – they produce delicious cold-press juices and energy bites by upcycling from wasteful aspects of the food industry. St-Vincent Bakery, similarly, makes delicious bread from spent grain.
Superfoods from the sea
Getting our fair share of superfoods is still a top priority for many, and contrary to clichés, conferences and conventions don’t need to derail delegates from their ideal diet.
The trend analysts at Pinterest say 2023 is all about ocean-based foods, specifically green algae, nori, kelp and other seaweeds – and the Whole Foods Trends Council agrees. Whole Foods is seeing sea superfoods crop up in noodles, chips and in drinks like chlorophyll water.
Crunchy nori seaweed snacks and vegetarian maki rolls can be trend-forward additions to an event menu. Sushi Momo and Bloom Sushi are two ultra-popular vegan sushi restaurants in Montréal that offer catering. Fleur Sauvage also makes a delicious kombu seaweed salad.
Speaking of vegetarian foods, the Good Food Institute reported that the sales of plant-based foods grew three times faster than overall food sales in 2021. And the good news is that vegetarian food can also help reduce the cost of event catering considerably: on average a plant-based flexitarian diet is estimated to cost 14% less than the standard diet. Plus it has the benefit of being more sustainable.
All catered venues in Montréal offer vegetarian options, but if you’re going off-road, there’s a whole plant-based scene here to explore.
Let’s be honest – what’s an event without caffeine? It’s the perfect fuel, but coffee comes with a crash. 2023 is bringing all sorts of new ideas for alternate ways to get that same energy kick without the downside.
The Whole Foods Trends Council is excited about yaupon, a holly bush that’s North America’s only known native caffeinated plant. Its mild, earthy flavour can be enjoyed in infusions, but it’s most often found in bottled drinks like kombucha. Matcha is another caffeinated beverage on the rise, while yerba mate is a grassy tasting brew native to South America that’s known to actually slow the heart rate slightly, all the while providing enough caffeine to sharpen focus and concentration.
And if coffee still holds the key to your heart, fear not: coffees enhanced with adaptogens like lion’s mane mushrooms or ashwagandha still top the trends list for 2023. See what’s brewing at these Montréal cafés.
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