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Special Events State of the Industry 2022: Part 9

A look at food trends heading into 2023


If there’s one word to describe the direction of food and catering trends in 2023, it’s “experience.” Nobody wants to rush through eating; drinking and dining is a focal activity. The 2023 Food and Beverage Report from SupHerb Farms calls this “high-impact sensory experiences,” telling us to “expect more extreme carbonation, beverage inclusions, colors, plating/presentation, table-side preparations, and preparation theater at foodservice.”

An easy way to do that is to use outside-the-box thinking and create interesting and novel ways to present provisions.

Fausto Pifferrer of Blue Elephant Events & Catering does that by thrifting odds and ends to be used as unique serving vessels. Some of these include empty light bulbs, tea candle trays, mini martini glasses, paper cones, even mini plastic cocktail shakers, to name a few. Glass cloches are also having a moment, another simple way to creatively present servings.

Mini Perfume Bottle Cocktails.jpg
These mini perfume bottle cocktails are a trendy creative drink vessel. Drinks by Blue
Elephant Events & Catering. Photo courtesy Focus Photography

Other fun trends popping up are butter boards, cocktail claw machines, and ice cream carts, all of which engage guests and present the same food and beverage items in novel ways. And you’ll be seeing more mini cocktail foods and desserts, often served in bite-sized edible vessels.

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Individual servings, like these mini charcuterie cones, are a trend influenced by pandemic
precautions. Food by Blue Elephant Events & Catering. Photo courtesy Focus Photography

Global flavors are on the rise, including several Asian breakfast dishes. SupHerb’s report also notes that spice and heat preferences are on the rise—at least among millennials and Gen X. Flavors like Nashville hot sauce, hot honey, gochujang, and tajin top the popularity charts; it seems that chili- and pepper-bases are what eaters crave.

Sustainability and inclusivity are increasingly front of mind, with upcycled food, locally sourced ingredients, and sustainable catering becoming the norm. Offering alternatives such as craft mocktails and vegan options is the new way to care for all your guests.

As THC becomes legal in more states and stigmas fade away, caterers and restaurateurs are finding innovative ways to incorporate cannabis into event menus, in the form of edible goodies and THC cocktails. (For more on cannabis event safety read our blog.)

From cocktail hours to midnight snacks, food and beverages are taking up more event time. Creative presentations of individual portions—like those served on artistically decorated treat walls—are the new way to keep guests engaged and immersed in an ultramodern experience. 

For more on food trends, read the article "To Trend or Not to Trend" from the winter issue of our sister publication, Catersource.

Stay tuned for the final segment of our State of the Industry 2022!
To view part 8, click here.

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