Kerry Pearce, Head Chef at The Venues Collection’s Kents Hill Park shares the five food trends influencing what and how we will be eating over the next year:
This is a huge focus for our industry as we start to see events come back, especially with the eyes of the world focused on COP26 next month. The whole food event chain, from supplier, to venue to organiser and to delegate will be taking a collective responsibility for their part in ensuring event food choices are sustainable. We’ll see a rise in circular agriculture and vertical farming to bring food production into built up areas and thus reduce transportation. Event organisers can really make a big difference because their choices impact on so many delegates; if they choose their partners wisely and work with a venue who has already integrated sustainably into their menus, takes a zero-waste approach and is working towards Carbon Net Zero it will alleviate any eco-anxiety they have about how to achieve a sustainable and balanced menu.
2 – Plant-based
Plant-based food will carry on growing in popularity and I also predict that a new trend of ‘plant-first’ food will lead the way. Plant-first describes a way of creating a meal with the plant as the main ingredient and the star of the show, meat is still present but just with a supporting role – such as burgers made from 50% meat and 50% mushroom. Moves such as these are encouraging more people to think differently and not to plan their meals around meat.
3 – Zero food waste
The western world throws away about one third of all food, so we all will be working harder to achieve zero-waste in our food choices and taking a root-to-stem, nose-to-tail approach to ensure that nothing is wasted. We will also see more recycled and reusable packaging too.
4 – Health and wellbeing
The old saying you are what you eat has never been more true! How you fuel your body has a big impact on your health and wellbeing. This has been a key trend for the past few years, and it will continue to be a huge focus, especially for the 48%* of people who said they put weight on during the lockdowns. Foods that promote brain power, gut health, supports a healthy immune system or even contain natural remedies will be popular.
5 – Mindful food
This trend includes many of the other trends – but it just encompasses us all becoming far more mindful of what we are eating, how it is produced, how it travelled to us and of course how much we eat. People are already becoming more aware of the power they have to choose the right food to fuel their bodies by selecting different protein options, avoiding allergens and personalising their meals without causing waste.
* King’s College London and Ipsos MORI survey 2021