​Katie Cabrera, Sales Account Manager and Craig Hancox, Catering Manager at the ICC, recently led a ‘mastermind lunch’ on food trends

They hosted the event for EWL Midlands – a networking group that brings like-minded #eventprofswholunch together to connect over great conversation and food.

The event was held at the Park Regis Birmingham and was attended by event professionals from across the Midlands.
The group began the discussion by considering how for events, the catering offer is one of the biggest draws for potential new clients and the event organisers themselves. A room is generally fixed in terms of décor, size and location so food can be a real decider both for a new booking, selling a venue and bringing back repeat business. Katie and Craig told the group how the Amadeus team have a ‘creative hour’ each week to brainstorm new ideas and also regularly organise food tours to check out what competitors are doing, ensuring the business remains an industry leader.
The debate then touched on the rise of Street Food inspired catering at events and the fact that chef’s tables are a big draw for some, giving people an exclusive VIP feel. Vegetarian is now considered mainstream and the group discussed the issues around halal and kosher food and catering for people with special requirements – the importance of serving everyone with the same respect at the same time so that people are not made to feel awkward or a nuisance is crucial for the industry.
Discussion around featuring brands from the high street on menus concluded in agreement that while this used to be a big draw it is no longer a driver.  More often than not people want things not off the high street, they want original and home-made artisan products.
In this way there is a constant race now to find something different; craft beers, artisan produced, original, special and not generally known products and producers. Social Media and Instagram have also played a part in the changing landscape of food design as pictures of dishes are shared constantly, meaning you have to constantly reinvent to stay ahead.
The group concluded that success in the future will therefore will be around the capacity to innovate.