Looking for Event Food Inspiration? Trends Top Chefs Are Talking About

mushroom_stock_white-backYou can expect more progressive event food and beverage menus that reflect sustainability and wellness messaging this year, according to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot: 2020 Culinary Forecast.” The annual report features survey results from more than 600 American Culinary Federation chefs. The overarching theme this year: New alternatives.

Among trends heating up for 2020: mushroom, which has replaced cauliflower as the food of the year, zero-waste dishes featuring new takes on “rabes” from turnips and corn, and stress-relieving ingredients like CBD-infused coffee. While Instagram museums may have peaked, Instagrammable fare has not—#foodporn lives on, and so do the possibilities of edible and shareable content at your events.

economist_waste_beyond-sausage_teaserMore on This Topic:

Brands have already caught on to several trends. The Glenlivet created both a boozy treat and a drinkable dessert (two hot trends for 2020) for its New York Fashion Week sampling of whisky root beer floats. Salesforce at its Connections conferences last year eliminated beef from menus to reduce the event’s ecological footprint. And the Golden Globes made headlines this year with its entirely plant-based dinner menu.

What’s not hot this year? Whey protein (in favor of plant-based proteins), seaweed and insect ingredients (consumers want natural, but not that kind of natural). More results from the report:


Top food trends for 2020:

  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Plant-based proteins
  • Delivery-friendly menu items
  • Healthy bowls
  • Scratchmade
  • Creativity with catering
  • Revamped classic cocktails
  • Stress relievers
  • Specialty burger blends (mushroom-beef)
  • Unique beef and pork cuts

Top booze trends for 2020:

  • Revamped classic cocktails
  • Alcoholic seltzers
  • Aperol spritz
  • Mezcal varieties
  • Asian spirits (baijiu, soju shochu)

Photo courtesy: iStock/K Neville

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the brand's head of content. Her travels covering the experiential marketing indust ry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (hey, it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
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