Small plates. Veggie Trays. New twists on classic comfort foods – none of these things are new, but they continue to trend within the catering business. Catering trends don't suddenly happen. They're slow expansions of ideas from one end of the country – or the world – to the other. Below, caterers share 10 trends with which they are working, offer up ideas for adding excitement to 2019, and show ways to add dollars to your bottom line.
1. Small plates
Although some are getting a little bigger – are still popular amongst diners.
2. Fermented foods
Fermented foods will be the star of the show. We’ll see ingredients like kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir and more, uniquely woven into traditional dishes.
3. Food trucks
Food trucks are here to stay. Wedding couples are looking for laidback, approachable ways to offer good food. Small plates with a farm-to-fork approach will continue to grow in this space.
4. Local menus
Local menus are more popular than ethnic cuisine in many areas, but customers want high-end local food. This is not so much an environmental thing as simply celebrating the cuisine and style of a geographic area.
5. The meat-free movement
The meat-free movement is not going away anytime soon. Because meat is no longer the only source of protein, you’ll see foods like lentils, quinoa, chickpeas and more replace many center-of-plate staples.
6 veggie plates
Say goodbye to the traditional vegetable tray. While veggies are not necessarily something “new”, you’ll see a lot more caterers offering cut-to-order veggie plates with flavorful dips, hummus and chips.
7. food stations
Creating specific food stations has become popular amongst consumers, and it’s an interactive way to get your guests involved. Station trends for 2019 include tea, cotton candy, and crostini stations.
8. food waste
As consumers become more and more aware of food waste, caterers must tailor their offerings in a way that is more resource-smart. This can be something as simple as serving your food in new and innovative ways or having packaging that is more biodegradable and renewable.
9. Vertical food displays
Vertical food displays are popping up on the banquet and catering scenes. From elaborate doughnut walls, to pretzel stations and more, caterers are coming up with creative ways to present food.
10. High-end cocktail offerings
High-end cocktail offerings are still trending in the catering industry. From fresh ingredients at reception bars, to real fruit squeezed in front of guests, consumers are looking for their cocktail hours to be an interactive experience.