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Forward-Thinking Food & Beverage: What’s Now and What’s Next

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At the heart of all successful events and gatherings you’ll usually find tasty, innovative, memorable food & beverage offerings. But the entire landscape of food & beverage goes well beyond the recipe – it also includes presentation, experience, and even technology. Here are a few of the latest trends to be aware of when planning your next fete. 

TREND #1:     Plant-Based

The leading edge of the culinary and mixology fields is surprising and exciting people about the possibilities of plant-based food and drink. From celebrity chefs to elite catering companies, plant-based options are accounting for more and more of the available menu.

Part of it is driven by strong consumer demand for corporate social responsibility (CSR) since plant-based items are typically produced with a much smaller carbon footprint and avoid any issues related to animal ethics. The other part is practicality – with plant-based foods delicious enough to delight any palate, menu planning becomes simpler as it no longer means having vegan or vegetarian alternatives alongside meat-based products. 

TREND #2:     Cash-Free  

One of the best things to come out of the pandemic is how quickly people adopted cash-free payment systems. The latest systems go far beyond Square apps and readers (though those are still great options) and can offer integrated digital touch screen menus, automatic tip calculation, and even the ability for patrons to re-order from an app on their own phones rather than looking for a server or bartender.

Best of all, cash-free systems allow service staff to work much more quickly to serve more guests (goodbye long lines at the bar!) 

TREND #3:     Non-Alcoholic Alternatives 

While everyone loves the “pop” of champagne, there’s a growing audience that would rather have sparkling grape juice or a hand-crafted “mocktail” instead of the traditional boozy counterpart.

Appealing for everyone to the health conscious, to younger markets that aren’t quite drinking age, to family-friendly events where guests can bring children, consider some hand-muddled “No-jitos” with fresh mint, simple syrup, and a refreshing splash of club soda – without the rum. (Bonus: you don’t have to limit your caterer or venue selection based on liquor licensing). 

TREND #4:     One-Bite Wonders 

Anyone who’s ever walked around looking for someplace to put an empty plate at an event can tell you – there’s a difference between “small” hors d’oeuvres and true one-bite culinary masterpieces. Genius chefs are practically creating mini eight-course meals meant to be enjoyed a single taste a time, with no more than toothpick or cocktail napkin.

What’s driving the trend? People want to remain social without having to be seated next to someone for an entire plated dinner or served buffet. Likewise, outdoor spaces lend themselves better to smaller passed trays of treats as opposed to running back and forth from the kitchen. 

VIBE is always on the lookout for the future tastes and sips. Ask our team how to revolutionize the menu for your upcoming event. 

About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry.

The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020.  Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry.  If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!

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Crafted with ❤ by Mean Studio