Here at CSI DMC, culinary planning is a perpetual source of inspiration for our team, and as we join forces with clients to redefine their culinary experiences for the upcoming wave of 2024 events, here's a sneak peek into the exciting trends and innovative solutions that are shaping our menu designs:
SUSTAINABLE DINING TAKES CENTER STAGE
The demand for sustainable choices is surging, placing event planners under growing pressure to provide eco-friendly and ethical dining options. According to the American Express 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, 54% of planners have already embraced sustainability in their menus, with expectations soaring to 75% within the next year. Our emphasis on plant-based and sustainable menus not only aligns with environmental values but also caters to the escalating demand for conscious dining choices.
GLOBAL FLAVORS AND FUSION CUISINE
To craft unforgettable taste experiences, we're meeting the demand for more international flavors in food offerings. The rise of fusion cuisine allows for a creative mix of culinary traditions. For example, incorporating a chef-attended Thai noodle station, complete with customizable spice levels, offers guests a delightful opportunity to explore an array of flavor profiles.
Taking center stage is the integration of functional ingredients and wellness-focused menus. Featuring foods with perceived health benefits, such as superfoods, probiotics, and adaptogens, adds a new dimension to event menus. An innovative approach that can also be a decorative touch involves vibrant displays of attractively labeled jars containing healthy powders like beet, turmeric, and broccoli, allowing guests to sprinkle them on their meals for a boost of goodness.
We love adding innovative food-as-decor concepts, and one fast-emerging trend are 'green walls'. These hydroponic displays of various herbs empower guests to choose fresh flavors to enhance their meal choices. It's a visually stunning and sustainable way to incorporate greens into the menu, while enhancing the attractiveness of the dining event space.
FUN FOOD STATIONS WITH A TWIST
Interactive food stations have become a staple in event planning, but to reduce food waste, we're introducing twists. Chef-attended build-your-own options, such as made-to-order fruit salad and smoothie stands, allow guests to select their favorite fruits - with nothing pre-cut. The chef only uses the ingredients that are needed, minimizing waste and ensuring freshness.
The integration of technology into the culinary experience is transforming events. From digital menus to interactive displays and virtual reality, these tech-infused elements elevate the overall dining experience, injecting a sense of novelty and excitement for attendees.
CULINARY PLANNING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Food waste has no upside. We've helped clients minimize waste, and save money, for a long time, and going into 2024, waste reduction has become a critical factor in smart culinary planning. Here are just a few of the ways we're helping our clients reduce waste, and oftentimes, save money in the process:
Finding the balance between too much and too little is crucial for budget control. We work with culinary partners on solutions like portion control, timed food service, and gradual presentation to avoid unnecessary waste.
Artfully decorated food displays with smaller serving trays and vessels manage portion control without compromising on the aesthetic. This trend has been very popular in forward-thinking restaurants; however, it is a little slower to take off for event catering in the United States. That's changing though, as corporations see the positive impact on budgets that reduction offers.
Bid farewell to plastic water cups and single-use bottles. Doesn't real coffee deserve a real mug anyway? Opt for real plates and silverware over disposables, enhancing the overall dining experience. Presently, using real tableware over disposables has a marginally higher cost, due to more staff for clearing and cleaning, however, we are seeing this trend change, as catering firms feel the pressure to reduce disposable waste products and meet their environmental goals.
BREAK IT UP
For breaks, we've helped clients save considerable sums by ditching individually wrapped snacks for attractively presented bulk dispensers, served by an attendant, which also adds a friendly face to portion management.
In summary, these flavorful trend shifts redefine the culinary experience, offering not only a tasteful journey but also aligning with health-conscious and environmentally friendly practices. Staying ahead of these trends yields benefits like enhanced attendee engagement, meeting sustainability goals, and contributing to the local destination's well-being and the planet at large.
At CSI DMC, we excel in the art of culinary planning. Collaborating with our clients, we're not just shaping menus; we're redefining the dining experience for countless 2024 events. Are you ready to elevate your event's culinary journey? We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to work with you!