I’ve an event coming up in October where innovation, interaction and engagement are crucial for the event to be a success, we’ve decided on the room layout and the technologies we’ll be using to deliver this but what about the food?

What can we do that’s different and encourages interaction by getting everyone talking?

To help with this I’ve decided to ask a few of my favourite event caterers to share their thoughts on the top trends for this year and next…

Florence Midwood, Head of Events for Cooks & Partners gave me her insight:

Sharing platters seem more and more popular at the moment.  Brides, grooms and private clients are searching for more informal types of dining without sacrificing the quality.  For the corporate market this style of service encourages interaction between guests and breaks the ice helping to create an energised atmosphere.

As far as cuisines go, we are certainly getting more requests for Middle Eastern styles such as Moroccan and Lebanese.  We have a VIP charity dinner at Leighton House Museum coming up at the end of this month and the whole menu is Syrian themed.

We are currently aiming for healthy and invigorating rather than heavy and sleep inducing foods.  Nutrition is much higher on the agenda for events.  We were recently asked to produce a sugar free menu for a breakfast event at The View from The Shard which was very successful and challenged our chefs too!

For 2016 I think the healthy, nutritious food trend will continue, but will become much more prevalent.  I think we will go back to traditional ways of cooking and preparing food such as fermenting foods to help your digestive system and creating broths to bring extra protein to your diet.

Emma Villa, Sales & Business Development for Richmond Creative Events thoughts were:

An ever increasing focus on where ingredients are sourced and the use of fresh, local produce in menus.

Small bites and mini desserts for conferences and meetings.

A display of Great British cheeses takes the place of the typical wedding evening buffet.

Hand held barbecue food, think carved lamb pittas for post conference networking.

For Christmas; funky twists on Turkey with all the trimmings.

Health and nutrition is growing in popularity and this will have a bearing on menus as clients look for tasty dishes that are also healthy.

Burgers…always hugely popular and people are always on the look-out for new combinations to try!

Unusual presentation styles; the good old china plate, whilst always a staple, is no longer necessarily the standard, with dishes being presented on boards and slates, or in jars and flower pots!

People are becoming braver with spices in their food so we predict a shift towards dishes and menus offering stronger flavours.

Ben Paris, Sales Manager for Food by Dish had this to say:

At Food by Dish we’ve found that a notable catering trend for 2015 is to have traditional main course items packaged up into hand-held ‘grab food. People are wanting more of a relaxed, informal feel at events, yet still not going down the traditional buffet route.

In terms of specific styles of cuisine, Mexican food is extremely popular at the moment within event catering.  An example of these two trends combined can be seen as a ‘build your own burrito’ food station which could offer traditional rice based dishes such as a Smoked Haddock Kedgeree being served in an informal, hand held fashion.

This style of catering is perfect for summer and adds an element of fun to any event. This catering trend is also ideal for working lunches with a twist at conferences and exhibitions as it allows fast and efficient service.

So there you have it, if we can get everyone to put down or swap their plates, use their hands or even build their own, maybe try a few classics with new combinations, and of course have plenty of healthy options then I reckon we’ll be on to a winner!

I’ll let you know how some of these go down in October #Eventprofs, until next time…