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5 Catering Trends for Corporate Events in 2024

This year, diversity, sustainability, and creativity are major catering trends for corporate events. Here’s how you can use food to elevate the attendee experience.

In the dynamic world of corporate events, one thing remains constant: the importance of providing attendees with exceptional experiences. While presentations and networking sessions are crucial components of any conference, there’s another aspect that often goes overlooked but can make a significant impact: the food. If you’re planning a corporate event in 2024, here are five catering trends you’ll want to incorporate to ensure your event makes a lasting impression.

1. Portable Plates: Foster networking with grab-and-go snacks

Portable Plates: Foster networking with grab-and-go snacks

A key objective of every corporate event is to foster engagement and networking among attendees. As a corporate event planner, you want to designate time and activities to promote greater interaction and connection among your attendees. You want your attendees to constantly be moving, whether that means attending sessions, mingling with colleagues, or enjoying the dance floor. That’s why portable plates are a huge trend for corporate events in 2024.

Portable plates are delicious bites that can be easily eaten on the go. Think sliders, kebobs, pizza slices, and empanadas. At stations throughout the venue, savvy corporate event planners are creating grab-and-go snacks for attendees to enjoy as they move about the event. This not only improves the flow of your event, it gives your attendees the opportunity to eat and drink on their own time.

2. Vegan Variety: Catering for dietary preferences and restrictions

Vegan Variety: Catering for dietary preferences and restrictions

A major trend for corporate events in 2024 is creating menus that are inclusive of dietary preferences and restrictions. Vegan and plant-based diets have become increasingly common in recent years. In addition, more and more people identify with different dietary needs, such as being gluten- or lactose-intolerant. What used to be viewed as “extra” is now expected.

In 2024, companies must offer inclusive menus that cater to the diverse dietary needs of their event attendees. However, it’s important to offer vegan, plant-based, and dietary-sensitive dishes that are just as flavorful, diverse, and visually appealing as the featured courses. Gone are the days of settling for salad alternatives and bland vegetables. An experienced corporate event catering company will be able to create a diverse and delicious multi-course menu that caters to all preferences and restrictions without sacrificing flavor and presentation.

3. Going Global: Celebrating diversity with fusion cuisine

Going Global: Celebrating diversity with fusion cuisine

In recent years, there has been a notable shift in the culinary landscape of corporate events, with an increasing number of companies embracing the vibrant and diverse world of global cuisine. Corporate events bring together professionals from various cultural backgrounds, industries, and regions. Global cuisine provides an opportunity to celebrate this diversity by offering a range of flavors, ingredients, and culinary traditions from around the world. Whether it’s sushi from Japan, curry from India, or kebabs from Greece, each dish tells a story and allows attendees to experience different cultures without leaving the conference venue.

Yet, serving global cuisine is not only a celebration of diversity, it’s also a way to enhance the overall experience. Attendees remember the food served at events. Global cuisine is a great way to elevate the dining experience by offering unique and unexpected dishes. For example, for lunches, forget traditional sandwiches, and opt for a taco bar where attendees can customize their lunches based on their preferences and dietary restrictions. And if you really want to embrace the global theme, consider pairing your cuisine with your décor and entertainment. For example, if you’re serving a Spanish-themed meal, why not add Flamenco dancers for the entertainment? The options are limitless, and an experienced corporate caterer can help you craft the perfect fusion menu.

4. Sustainable Souring: Using locally sourced ingredients and reducing food waste

Sustainable Souring: Using locally sourced ingredients and reducing food waste

Sustainable catering at conferences is essential for companies looking to demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility. As a result, it’s a significant trend in the corporate event industry for 2024. But what does sustainable catering mean?

Sustainable catering refers to the practice of providing food and beverage services for events, gatherings, or occasions in a manner that minimizes negative environmental, social, and economic impacts. Here are three ways to incorporate sustainable catering at your 2024 corporate event:

  • Prioritize locally sourced ingredients – One of the most effective ways to incorporate sustainable catering at a corporate event is to work with a catering company that prioritizes locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. This helps to minimize transportation emissions, supports local communities, and ensures quality and freshness.
  • Reduce food waste – Food waste is a major issue for large corporate events; however, you can mitigate food waste by working with an experienced corporate event caterer who can help you accurately estimate attendance, plan portion sizes accordingly, and implement strategies to repurpose surplus food.
  • Opt for eco-friendly packaging – If you’re hosting a large corporate event, single-use plastics can add up. Consider using eco-friendly alternatives, such as compostable or biodegradable packaging, that reduce waste generation and pollution. You can also encourage attendees to bring reusable water bottles and coffee cups to help minimize waste.

5. Interactive Installations: Creating immersive culinary experiences

Interactive Installations: Creating immersive culinary experiences

Hosting experience-first events is no longer a trend—it’s essential. A recent survey conducted by Markletic found that 49% of corporate event planners said crafting immersive experiences was the single biggest contributing factor to event success. While immersive experiences extend to all aspects of the event, one way to really engage attendees is to set up interactive food installations throughout the venue. Here are a few examples:

  • DIY food stations – Set up stations where attendees can customize their dishes. For example, you can do a build-your-own burger or taco bar or set up an ice cream sundae station as a light night treat.
  • Live cooking demonstrations – Have your catering company provide chefs to conduct live cooking demonstrations where attendees can watch and learn as food is prepared. For example, you could have a chef grilling outside or making made-to-order bananas Foster. You could also have a mixologist demonstrating how to craft the perfect cocktail. The smells, sounds, and visual appeal will really make your event come alive.
  • Food and beverage pairings – If you’re looking for a fun networking activity, consider setting up food and beverage pairings. For example, you could do a wine and cheese pairing, where you offer a selection of cheeses paired with complimentary wine tastings with information on how the two complement each other.

Elevate your next event with Puff ‘n Stuff

Food is a powerful connector, and it plays an essential role in corporate events. That’s why, at Puff ‘n Stuff, we believe that corporate gatherings should be more than just meetings – they should be culinary journeys that bring colleagues and clients together in the shared experience of extraordinary flavors and lasting memories.

For over 40 years, Puff ‘n Stuff has provided full-service catering for Florida’s most renowned corporate events, social gatherings, and weddings. We pride ourselves on creating unique and customized menus that align with the specific theme, preferences, and dietary requirements of every event. Our dedicated team of event planners work with you to ensure every detail is met, from menu planning, event staffing, and coordination.

When you choose Puff ‘n Stuff to cater your corporate event, you’re not just selecting a menu; you’re choosing the opportunity to create lasting connections within your team. Let us handle the culinary details, so you can focus on building stronger professional relationships you’re your colleagues and clients.

Learn more about Puff n’ Stuff’s corporate event catering services here.