From urban farming to appy meals to vertical farming the latest event food trends in hotels around the world are bound to effect meetings and events. F&B is one of the costliest elements of any conference, and as innovators get more savvy, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for event food trends.
The groundswell of sourcing food locally will continue to grow in popularity, both for sustainability reasons and the desire to create a sense of place at meetings. Urban farming techniques and technology are already making it feasible for some convention centers and hotels to have gardens on-site.
No one knows this better than Sean Curry, chef at Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, who is developing several commercial-grade beehives throughout the hotel’s 150-acre property. He plans to use the bees to pollinate a chef’s garden to supply the restaurant as well as generate honey.
By the year 2025, Curry expects this trend to have gone mainstream—and also factor into a meeting planner’s decision process. Planners will want to meet with chefs before signing contracts and discuss the food chain at the property, he suggests. “Businesses will understand that booking meetings at a hotel that has green practices supports the movement. This will force other hotels to [comply] to gain market share.”
To that point, Lee Greene, founder of heirloom food company Scrumptious Pantry, says hotels and convention centers will also continue to strengthen their ties with local farmers to increase the quality of the food they serve. She predicts major hotel brands will drift away from the convenience of having the same menus in every location, instead focusing on dishes that can be sourced locally for individual regions.