end of October. The rest of the year we are highly dependent of fresh produce from other countries.” Chef Murray highlights that there is a gap in knowledge wherein meeting attendees are unaware that local produce is difficult to come by in some regions of the world during certain times of the year. Nevertheless, venues must get creative in how they tackle this issue. Chef Murray does this through looking for “many local items outside of seasonal items such as maple syrup, meats, artisan items, beverages and signature products to highlight the local area year-round.”

Accommodating Specific Dietary Needs

When respondents were asked to respond ‘true’ or ‘false’ to the set of statements in the graph below, a large share agreed that in the past year there has been an increase in the number of requests to accommodate dietary preferences and requirements. Meeting and conference guests have broadened palates from experiencing a variety of global cuisines and culinary creations — as a result they have developed sophisticated palates. Many are also conscious of their diet and how their body reacts to different foods and so, they are more aware of their dietary restrictions and have more specific preferences. A 2019 study, “Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults” found that 10% (26 Million) U.S. adults have food allergies, more than double what has been previously reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Justin Griffith of RLA Learning and Conference Center in the United States shares that he has seen last minute requests for “special menus made the day of event for attendees on diets and attendees requesting calorie, sodium, and other specific content information for food”. Julian Kettleborough of The Studio Venue Company, shares that it is difficult to balance healthy diets with healthy appetites and find a solution to accommodate all delegates — a sentiment expressed by many other venue operators and suppliers alike.

Justin Griffith of RLA Learning, US


IACConline.org & IACCmeetings.com

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