Benchmark has released its list of top dining trends for 2020 as observed by executive chefs and culinary experts at the global hospitality company’s 80 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants, including Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in Colorado Springs and Tivoli Lodge in Vail as well as the very recent addition of Manor Vail Lodge.

No. 1 Cannabidiol (CBD)

Coffee shops and restaurants in many American cities now have an array of CBD oil-infused menu offerings that are aimed at attracting customers interested in trying new eco-friendly, plant-based ingredients. CBD is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis and is known to reduce pain, stress and anxiety. CBD-infused drinks are also quickly gaining momentum.

No. 2 Plant Ecosystem

Some individuals are making a dietary switch into the plant-based ecosystem and seeking plant-based food alternatives meat and dairy. The art of cooking and food invention are recreating meat and dairy flavors from non-meat and non-dairy products like soy, peas, cashews and almonds.

No. 3 Healthy Snacks

There are new products on the snack food market providing healthier alternatives to chips, with ingredients like chickpeas, beets, quinoa and kale.

No. 4 Jackfruit

The newest go-to meat substitute is jackfruit. Already being used as an alternative for barbecue pulled pork, jackfruit is a southeast Asian fruit that is a great source of iron, calcium and B vitamins.

No. 5 Fruit Forward

Unique fruit flavors, such as cactus, are taking mixology by storm … more specifically, spiny cactus fruits such as prickly pear and dragon fruit. Consumers also are exploring unique fruit flavor varieties, including bergamot orange, yuzu, calamansi, citron, makrut lime, pomelo, Meyer lemon, blood orange and ugli fruit.

No. 6 Oat Milk

Oat milk has emerged as the golden child of alternative milks. It’s terrific in coffees, and companies are launching other oat milk products as alternatives to dairy.

No. 7 Sparkling Water

Sparkling water demand continues to be driven by consumers who are concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy cravings for carbonation. Consider offering sparkling water beverages that feature unique flavors and low alcohol (or no alcohol).

No. 8 Bright & Bold

In terms of flavors and colors, consumers are looking for bright, bold, appealing hues. Color generates emotional appeal with food, and it may be as important as taste.

No. 9 Traceability

Consumers are demanding sustainability in all forms. Whether it’s swapping out Styrofoam and plastic for paper or bamboo or buying ingredients from local sustainable sources, sustainability is a big focus.

No. 10 Ugly Produce

Consumers are finally accepting misshapen, bruised and ugly foods as totally edible. How can hotels and restaurants follow suit?

So far, webcams and Zoom meetings have been an essential part of 2020. While digital options are functional placeholders for meetings, chatting with a coworker over Skype doesn’t always set up a team for success. Human connection is vital to team building, and hosting safe, small meetings is a great way to revitalize teams after months of working from home.

 

Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  

 

Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers.