Survey reveals delegates hunger for dietary respect

Written by: Mark Cooper - Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Spring 2017 edition of the IACC industry research white paper ‘Meeting Room of the Future’ shines an interesting light on a growing trend in food and beverage provisions at conferences, meetings and events. The trend is centred on the increasing realisation by meeting planners that the food and beverage offering has a direct link with attendee satisfaction. Delegates expect a personalised experience from their event attendance and what they eat and drink while there is a core aspect of how this is delivered.

In the response to the survey statement “food and beverage is a key part of the meeting design and experience,” meeting planners provided a rating of 8.4 out of 10, clearly indicating that they strongly agree. And when asked, what frustrates them the most in terms of food and beverage offerings, “a lack of accommodation for dietary needs” was one of the top issues with venues.

A lack of accommodation for dietary needs is one of the top issues planners have with meeting venues.  [Tweet This]

The trends in food and beverages revealed by our report can be simplified as ‘it’s time to treat your delegates with respect’. If I have allergies, health issues, intolerances or simply personal preferences, I don’t want to wear a badge proclaiming this to the world. I want to quietly ensure I avoid the particular foods and drinks that can harm me without causing a fuss or drawing attention to myself. This means venues need to provide a wide choice of refreshments with detailed ingredients information.

Along with an increase in food types and nutritional values, our survey reveals that meal timing is increasingly in the running for modernisation. After so many years of being forced to stick to one dietary-agenda, delegates are standing up for themselves and showing that they can make their own decisions on what and when they should eat, continuous refreshments breaks with a choice of different foods, rather than set meals at set meal times, came out on top.

Our research found that 80% agreed with the statement, “There is a benefit in venues offering meeting and conference delegates continuous refresh­ment break service throughout the day versus set times for delivery.”

The IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ is a ground-breaking report and brings together insights from 180 global meeting planners, IACC members and industry experts, and identifies the trends and issues that will impact the future of global meetings and conferences.

Get a copy of the free report now >>

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