Catering Trends in the Meeting & Event Sector

The culinary element of a Meeting, Conference or Event can have such a significant impact on an attendee’s experience. Looking forward we have tried to predict the trends which are shaking up our industry when it comes to food and beverage.

New Food Guidelines

The Canadian Government has long been recognised as one of the global leaders when it comes to nutrition. In the 2019 release of the redefined Canadian Food Guidelines, the Canadian government brought an end to its longstanding practice of dividing foods into its original four categories and has now introduced a strong emphasis on plant-based foods, which can impact food choices for meetings. Using a new "modern approach" to food guidance, the new ideal prescribed balanced diet is now shown to consist of plenty of vegetables and fruits; a quarter portion for protein foods such as meat, nuts and beans; and a quarter for whole grain foods.Consumers will also be emphasizing a stronger desire for dairy-free products and a growing popularity for oat milk. Additionally, guests are placing even greater importance on having no preservatives or additives in their food as well as moving away from high usage of sugar, glucose, fructose and dextrose. People want to see clean labels.

Plant-based Food & All Vegan Menus

Based on a transformative year of changing dietary habits, we are confident that the plant-based food movement is more than just a fad and our guests are increasingly looking for all vegan menus and alternative meat options. Recognised by business leaders and executives alike, the plant-based food and beverage market has seen growing investments and sales and we are seeing this trend trickle down to our clients’ menu requests. One of the bigger trends this year is having all vegan menus…even for lunches and buffets, all vegan menus are becoming increasingly popular with guests.

Corporate Responsibility & Food Safety

In 2019, support of and demand for more corporate sustainability programs will grow as consumers better understand what’s required to get closer to achieving a truly circular food and drink economy. These sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling but creating products with ingredients that are grown in accordance to regenerative agriculture practices. Consumer trust in the food and beverage industry has been undergoing increased stress as retailers are under greater scrutiny to deliver higher-quality food at more competitive prices and more traceable supply chains. We have adopted a food sourcing plan using as many local suppliers as possible. Furthermore we are investigating setting up a “scratch kitchen” relying wholly on made-in-house recipes.

Experiential & Local Food Options

The rise of the ‘experiential diner’ has had a surging effect in the food and beverage sector and will continue. According to a survey by Eventbrite, 75% of people said that they believe unique dining experiences are worth paying for. This type of consumer is looking for a unique, culturally-relevant experience and one that evokes a true slice of local cuisine. Planners and delegates visiting Cavendish Venues for meetings and conferences want to know more about what they are eating and drinking. It’s about incorporating local craft breweries and local wineries where we can and also giving them a bit of education behind what they are tasting. Clients are steering away from the more traditional approach of plated dinners and moving towards a hybrid buffet dinner and reception with a tapas-style experience because people are wanting to enjoy a variety of options.


London is one of the culinary capitals of the world. The range and diversity of foods is unparalleled. What other country could say that their national dish is a Chicken Tika Masala (an Anglo / Indian hybrid. Our guests are wanting the opportunity to learn about the diversity.

Fermented Foods

Fermenting, pickling and preserving reaching the mainstream, the positive health effects associated with these types of probiotic-rich foods are becoming more widely known. Consumers are looking for more and more ways to improve overall body health, and certain fermented foods have proven benefits for gut health and digestion. As more scientific evidence mounts in favour of gut-friendly foods, probiotics like kimchi, miso, kefir and kombucha are set to become commonplace and a key trend to watch out for this year.


Planners and delegates put a lot of value on having the ability to completely custom design their menus and event services. In fact, at Cavendish Venues we customise approximately 60% of our culinary offerings. This is a highly collaborative process with our clients. Many want their event to stand-out and be completely different from others, so we work with them to create completely custom and theme-specific food and drink options. Cavendish Venues has a huge range of meeting, conference and event rooms across central London. We strive to differentiate ourselves from bland homogeneous spaces. We do this by listening relentlessly to our clients and delegates. Surveys show food to be on of the most important determinants of delegate satisfaction, we know this and act on this.