Top five food and beverage trends

The Fresh Collective’s founder and director Peter McCloskey has seen his share of food trends. He shares what’s new and what’s here to stay.
With more than 40 years in the industry and a portfolio of premium event venues across Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, The Fresh Collective’s founder and director Peter McCloskey has seen his share of food trends. Here, he shares what’s new and what’s here to stay.

Small but exceptional

Despite COVID restrictions easing, we’re still seeing a trend towards more intimate events, with guest numbers much smaller than those we saw pre-pandemic. For corporate events, companies are planning more targeted events for divisions and teams, rather than company-wide events.

The guest list may be refined but event organisers are still utilising the same budget, resulting in more impressive events, with a higher spend per head on food and beverage, and styling. We’re seeing an increase in event activations to create an experience that is fun, unique and memorable. More than ever, people don’t just want to host an event, they want to wow their guests.

Safety first

No surprises, there is still a huge focus on hygiene and safety around food service. In a move away from the communal trend that dominated for years prior to COVID, the popularity of grazing tables and buffets are perhaps a thing of the past as we see a shift back to seated and coursed dining.

Canapés and individually boxed dishes are a great opportunity to get creative and entice people to post pics of your event on social media. Playing around with colours, presentation and packaging to create a visual show adds to the overall event experience.

Future food

Consumers are more aware than ever of where their food comes from and they expect sustainability in all catering and food preparation services.

At The Fresh Collective, we focus on ethical and sustainable ingredients by using MSC-certified seafood, meat that is organic and ethically raised, and free-range eggs and poultry.

Incorporating vegan options into event menus is an increasingly popular option and a great way to show your support to the movement.

It’s also important to consider your event’s environmental footprint. We reduce food miles by working with local vendors and producers, our takeaway packaging is 100% biodegradable and compostable, and all cardboard packaging is made from recycled material.

Drinks that pack a punch

Signature cocktails, high-quality alcohol-free options and low-sugar alternatives – event planners are incorporating individual drink preferences worthy of note.

A signature cocktail adds to an event’s wow factor, but we’re also seeing subtle updates, like a traditional cocktail with a new twist. Providing sophisticated choices for alcohol-free guests is also becoming increasingly important. Zero proof spirits are having their moment, elevating the juice and soft-drink mocktails of the past.

Natural flavours and low-sugar options are on the rise too, with guests seeking beverages with fewer artificial additives and less refined sugar.

Fashionably late

Where we used to have two months lead time, we’re now being given two weeks to produce an event. Organisers are hesitant to commit too far ahead as we’ve seen how quickly the pandemic can impact plans. Event registrations are also coming late to the party, with guests uncertain of travel plans and wary of COVID isolation.

A flow-on effect for the service industry is the additional pressures this puts on staffing. We are seeing a severe shortage of skilled hospitality staff in NSW which has led to a significant increase in the cost of staffing, which could affect your event’s bottom line.


Images are courtesy of The Fresh Collective.

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