New food trends will become more important to planners in 2018. Competent edible food will no longer satisfy meeting and event attendees. They have a new definition of edible food, and it’s far beyond your mother’s table fare. Even the cocktail hour has been affected by new artisanal trends. If you step up to the bar at an event in 2018 and order a “gin and tonic”, necks will crane, and you’ll feel like a Martian being inspected by astounded earthlings.
When it comes to food and beverage, everyone is into natural, exotic, organic, artisanal, locally sourced food delivered directly from the farm to the dining table. Nothing else will do. If you try to serve standard hotel fare with a bottle of beer to event attendees in 2018, unless you brewed the beer in the next room and grew everything on the hotel roof, you’ll brand yourself and your event – passé. There is no quicker way to lose their attention and assure future attendance problems at your events than to serve “old fashioned” food and beverage.
What’s That Called Now?
So, what’s new? What’s the latest food fad? Where has all the fondue gone? A recent survey of food and beverage professionals, restaurateurs, processing companies, distributors, chefs, dietitians, farmers, brewers, and food writers uncovered some trends that have been brewing for a few years and others that have popped up out of nowhere. It is time to re-examine your definition of food. After all, you’ve been eating and serving food your life-long, and you’re pretty confident you know what noodles are, for example, and what butter is used for. Well, in 2018, you’d probably be wrong.
Public Service Announcement
As a public service, we endeavor to enlighten planners with the following translations of familiar foods into 2018 speak.
NOODLES – Now called Ramen. Ramen is a Japanese dish of wheat noodles served in a meat or fish based broth with toppings such as dried seaweed, menma, and green onions. Ramen works on 2018 menus. Noodles don’t.
BUTTER – Don’t say butter. Now it’s called Ghee. Ghee is clarified butter, but somehow, it’s a lot better for you. We recommend you include Ghee on your approved food list this year.
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD – Used to be healthy. No more. Wheat is full of gluten. Gluten is bad. Only ancient grains like kaput, spelt, amaranth, or lupin will do. You’ll be considered up-to-date if you offer ancient grains at your events.
GARDEN SALAD – You’ll be laughed out of business if you continue with the tired old garden salad. Now it’s Poke. Poke is a raw fish salad of yellowfin tuna, sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, limu seaweed, and chili pepper. You might even serve Poke as a main course now and then.
DINNER ROLLS – Oh no! Don’t even consider serving those yeasty little balls of sin. Only Naan will do. Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread from Central Asia. Just take our word for it – Dinner Rolls/NO – Naan/YES.
SALT AND PEPPER – How quaint. Grandma used to have salt and pepper shakers on the table when we went to her house for dinner. I didn’t even know they made them anymore. At your next event, be sure to use only – Sea Salt and Timut Pepper. Salt from salt mines is bad. Salt from the sea is good. Timut pepper from Nepal has a vibrant aroma of passion fruit and grapefruit and leaves your mouth tingling. I guess that‘s case- closed on Grandma’s pepper shaker.
RYE AND GINGER – Gin and tonic – Scotch and soda – all have been relegated to the trash heap of history. Event and meeting participants compete to order the best artisanal whiskies from Balcones Distilling, Kentucky Peerless, Still 630, Tuthilltown Spirits, or a dozen other top artisanal distillers that are now considered the best of the best. Small batch gins like FEW American Gin, Aviation Gin, and Letherbee Original have pushed the Beefeaters off the top shelf into the recycle bin.
When planning your 2018 meetings and events be sure to pass the passé. The list above is, of course, only a sample of the food and beverage trends taking over the American zeitgeist. Get with it, and avoid being tipped into the recycle bin.