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A Preview of New Food and Beverage Trends for the New Year

2020 is just around the corner and, with it, we expect to see a whole array of new food and beverage trends in the special events industry. As a whole, catering has become a fundamental piece of any event, with special focus on high-quality ingredients and experiential cuisine. Gone are the days of sad boxed lunches and standard plating; we are in the age of fresh and innovative culinary design and we couldn’t be more excited.

Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect in the year ahead when it comes to food and beverage trends.

Clean eating

More than ever, people of all ages are looking to cleaner food options to maintain health and wellness. This will naturally become a major consideration for caterers as they craft their menus in 2020. Superfoods that provide energy and nutrition are highly popular and it seems as if there are new ones being introduced all the time. Expect salads to take centerstage — and we’re not talking about your typical romaine-and-tomato house salad. Think rich leafy greens, spicy filling proteins and grains, like lentils and quinoa, powerhouse veggies, and nutrient-rich dressings and toppings.

Versatile menus

Many events have to accommodate for individual dietary needs, whether it’s plant-based, gluten-free, or sugar-free. In the past, this has been addressed with special meals that are created for the guests who need them. Nowadays, however, we’re seeing more dishes that can be tweaked easily with subtle substitutions so everyone can enjoy the same meal in their own way.

Grazable displays

If you think about cheese platters and charcuterie boards, this may seem like nothing new — however, the displays themselves are taking on a new style. We’re seeing less china and more open spreads on bare buffet tables (clean, of course!). A nice acrylic or butcher block table can dress up any display without the need for bulky dishes and the spread is just as grazable with a clean aesthetic. In 2020, food isn’t just sustenance — it also serves as décor.

Fresh cocktails

We’ve seen the rise of handcrafted beverages and, rest assured, they aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’re going to become more intimately crafted with a low-key backyard feel. Local spirits, hand-picked herbs, and seasonal fruits are all playing a role in today’s signature cocktail. Think garden wedding, where guests can pluck their herb or fruit garnishes right from a nearby plant.

These are just a preview of what’s to come, but there were surely be more to see in 2020 when it comes to food and beverages. The culinary field is always changing, especially as the market demand shifts to healthier and more sustainable options, so keep an eye out for the latest and greatest in the world of catering.


Clint Elkins is the VP of Sales at SB Value, a group purchasing program designed to reduce catering, kitchen and food-service costs by leveraging the collective buying power of thousands of companies.

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