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Predictions: Food & Beverage Trends

Part 5 in our annual State of the Industry (SOI) report

Cover photo: The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science hosted an experiential dining experience at this year’s annual fundraising gala, with an underwater theme reflected in the lighting and event decor. Photo courtesy Frost Science


Regarding the state of catering, themes such as tech, globalism, sustainability, and experience are prevalent. Over the past year, we’ve seen caterers take strides in utilizing cutting-edge technology, practicing sourcing that is better for the planet, and creating wow-factor immersive dining experiences. Today’s eater wants a memorable, responsible meal: they want their food to stimulate all their senses, to contribute to ecological health, and to be something they’ve never experienced before, even if that means a new take on something old.

F&B tech

If you were at Catersource + The Special Event this past March, you probably heard a lot of talk about culinary robots, or even witnessed them on the tradeshow floor. From servers to chefs to bartenders, you can find robots entering the catering workforce, easing staffing issues, and increasing efficiency. An article from Catersource magazine titled The Robot Uprising put it this way: “When it comes to the catering industry, the future means a symbiotic relationship between robots and humans. The integration of robotics into the catering industry is not about replacing human chefs; it’s about enhancing their skills and improving overall efficiency.” And like any new tech, there’s a bit of hesitancy mixed with excitement, but as we head into 2024, we expect to see this relationship between robots and catering pros get worked out as more companies tread this new territory.


In a global society, it makes sense that flavors influence one another. Cuisines across all cultures are finding their way into the spotlight. There were sessions at CS+TSE exploring Indian 

cuisine, and we saw Asian flavors fused with other cultural foods in sessions and at the evening events. The SupHerb Farms 2024 Food & Beverage Trend Report highlights Japanese, Oaxacan, Vietnamese, Nigerian, and North African cuisines as gaining popularity, and we continue to see heat from a variety of peppers and cultures be popular, as well as what the report calls “swicy”: a mix of sweet and spicy, like hot honey and mango habanero. 


Sustainable food and beverages aren’t a trend; they’re part of a cultural shift in how caterers and consumers alike approach food. The SupHerb report broke down the different types of sustainability when it comes to food: “It’s important to note that ‘sustainability’ now encompasses social justice, workers’ rights, animal welfare, and community involvement as well as environmental-specific issues such as water, air, and soil quality and protection.”

Caterers are taking the lead in making this shift, by sourcing both seasonally and locally. In fact, some caterers are getting extra local by producing their own ingredients. An article from Catersource notes that “from foraging for wild edibles to establishing farms and beekeeping operations, these enterprising professionals are redefining the concept of farm-to-table cuisine.” Hyperlocal ingredient sourcing is the next step many caterers are taking in the ongoing sustainability journey.

The SupHerb report also predicts we’ll start seeing more edible packaging in 2024—one more way to cut out waste by harnessing innovation.

Experiential dining

“Experiential dining is all about challenging the usual expectations and creating unique and memorable moments through inventive menus, sensory-focused and immersive dining, eccentric or thematic decoration, theatrics, unique locations and activities,” says an article from Lightspeed. Good food is great; good food wrapped up in an immersive, photo-worthy, theatrical experience is better.

Experiential dining uses “entertainment, technology, storytelling, and multi-sensory stimulation to enhance the overall dining experience,” says an article from Flavour Blaster. This highly engaging form of food service is in high demand, too: Eventbrite found that 75% of diners believe it’s worth paying more for a one-of-a-kind experience. These experiences frequently take the form of ticketed pop-up events.

2023 solidified experiential dining as popular; 2024 brings with it both the excitement and challenge of staying innovative as this type of dining becomes the norm.

Head over to Catersource for a deep dive into upcoming food and beverage trends.

This article is part of a series where we take an in-depth look at the state of the event industry. 
View Part 1
View Part 2

View Part 3
View Part 4

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