The vegan way of life is now main-stream, with 7% of the population eliminating animal-derived products from their fridges and shopping baskets.
Event planners need to consider this when catering for an event, as they want to make sure no one is excluded. So, as well as carefully looking at the format of your meetings, another really effective way of injecting new life into meetings is nutrition.
Our CEO, Douglas O’Neil said:
“Business budgets are continually being scrutinised and it is essential that meetings achieve the objectives they set out to reach. Many factors make meetings successful however one of the most overlooked areas is nutrition.”
Vegan options go beyond a salad
A vegan diet can include anything plant based: Vegetables, grains, nuts and fruit. This means you can still create a memorable dining experience for your vegan delegates, offering dishes with nut alternatives like vegan nut steak. With more and more vegan only catering companies popping up all over the capital and further afield, you can find a vegan alternative for any cuisine.
As an event planner you have limited control over how caterers prep the food, but you can decide on the type of food and when the food will be served e.g. day grazing instead of set breaks. Many amazing Asian, Indian and Mexican dishes are vegetable based with well-balanced spices, making even the most committed carnivore salivate. It is important to try and plan a menu which takes in to account all attendees, especially with the current awareness around healthy food and the rise in attendees with dietary requirements.
Thorough research is necessary
There are plenty of ingredients which at first glance come across as vegan friendly and less obvious than eggs and chicken, but contain a multitude of animal ingredients such as gelatine. For this reason, it is important to always thoroughly research your ingredients. If you’re not having the meals cooked from scratch you need to check the ingredient list for all items included in the dish.
One way to help with the research stage is to collect meal specific information at the registration phase of the process. The more you know about the food choices, the easier it will be to plan your menu.
Don’t put people on the spot
People can find attending a conference or an event overwhelming when turning up to lunch and seeing a placeholder that says ‘vegan’ under their name. It is important to not make a big deal out of someone’s dietary choice causing them to feel separated from everyone.
Doing everything possible to accommodate your attendees will make them feel welcomed. On the flip side, an attendee will also remember if you provided a negative experience and will be more likely to freely tell people about this.
With a guaranteed rise in vegan delegates expected over the coming years, the smart thing to do is to offer a vegan option on every menu. If you want to speak more about including a vegan dining experience at your next event, contact a member of our meeting and events team.