6 Food and beverage trends to watch for in 2021

published on March 2, 2021
Trends and Technology Green meetings

As we enter a post-pandemic year (fingers crossed), we’ll be seeing certain food and beverage trends which are based on the new realities of gathering. By definition, a “trend” is simply a general direction in which something is developing or changing, and the keywords here are “developing” and “changing.” While some items on this list are wonderful to see (such as more meatless options), there are other changes that we really hope don’t last forever.

Take a look at these six food and beverage trends for 2021.

More plant-based options

This is a trend that we’ve seen over the past few years — and this year is no different. As climate change continues to be on our collective conscious, vegetarian and/or vegan dishes will be one way of making events more ecologically sustainable. (Plant-based diets are crucial to saving global wildlife, says report.) Destinations with meat-forward cuisine at the heart of their culture (such as Chicago or even us here in Montréal) will continue to innovate and find new ways to highlight locally sourced products. (photo: vegan sushi

Lunchboxes or table service > buffets

To reduce intermingling, buffets are going to have to sit another year out. A German research study revealed that physically distanced seating arrangements during food and beverage consumption at events is an effective method to reduce transmission of coronavirus. Instead, expect prepackaged food boxes to become the standard for any meeting or event that includes a breakfast or a lunch. (The savviest events will ensure the use of biodegradable food packaging.) For evening events or events with budgets to hire hospitality staff, table service will be the better option.

Food + beverage budgets reduced

Indeed, not all trends are wonderful news. The reality is that many face-to-face events this year will be abridged versions of what they have been in the past. To compensate for smaller budgets, event professionals will need to find ways to reduce costs. Inevitably, food budgets will be affected. The upside is that constraints can actually augment creativity, and catering services will find inventive methods to serve affordable food without compromising premium quality. With great challenge comes great opportunities.

Brain-friendly foods

The foods we eat play a vital role in keeping our brains healthy, and research suggests that food — at least the right types of food — can even improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration. As it turns out, the best brain foods are the same ones that protect your heart and blood vessels, including the following: green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, certain nuts, and (thank heavens!) coffee.

No more “comfort food,” thanks

In the past decade, we’ve seen an emergence of comfort food and nostalgic dishes. There’s nothing wrong with these foods. We love them. However, people are eager to dine out again, and attendees will rejoice when they are served food that they can’t prepare at home. We’ve had a lot of home time lately — we’re craving exotic meals.

Dry events

Alcohol is known to limit inhibitions. Unfortunately, we still need a healthy amount of self-restrain at the moment to ensure protocol around limiting the transmission of viruses. Many event organizers will opt for booze-free events simply because it makes sense from a liability perspective. This doesn’t mean events will be boring. There are plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options to add flavour and sophistication to a gathering.


Read this next: 6 Hotel trends to watch for in 2021

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