What do CBD oil, jackfruit, and sparkling water all have in common? They’re all part of the top 10 dining trends for 2020 recently released by BENCHMARK® as observed by its 80 hotels, resorts, conference centers, and restaurants – coast to coast, offshore and internationally. Since meeting planners now pay as much attention to the culinary offerings they are serving their attendees as they do room setups, teambuilding activities, and A/V equipment, we task Patrick Berwald, vice president of food and beverage for BENCHMARK®, with digesting the 10 trends, then building a hypothetical banquet menu that incorporates as many of them as possible. Our point? To creatively demonstrate to meeting planning professionals just how easy it is to work imaginative, nutritious, and high-quality food and beverage into their culinary programing.
1. Passion Fruit-Tangerine CBD-Infused Sparkling Water
Not only does this item hit home the sparkling water trend – popular among consumers who are concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy their craving for carbonation – but it incorporates CBD oil, another trend that Benchmark reported as gaining momentum in the beverage market as more coffee shops and cafes feature it in their sparkling waters, coffees, teas, energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
2. Jewel Yam Bisque with Toasted Nut Garnish
The jewel yam is a perfect root vegetable to puree and make into a soup. But it tends to scrape and bruise easily, previously making it not always attractive to shoppers in the marketplace. Enter “ugly produce,” another food trend that Benchmark reported as on the rise for 2020, where consumers are finally accepting misshapen, bruised, and just downright ugly foods as totally edible. While physically flawed in some way, ugly produce is still nutritious and retains its typical flavor profile.
3. Grilled Vegan Barbeque Jackfruit Pizza with Hemp Seed Cheddar
The texture of jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork and shredded chicken and will soon become a force in the food industry as a meat alternative, reports Benchmark. Not only does this pizza spotlight the fruit as a meat alternative (in this case, as a stand-in for barbeque pulled-pork), but it’s a bit more of an adventurous vegetarian substitute (over the typical beans and mushrooms) as well as a great source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins.
4. Tie-Dye S’mores & Oatmilk “Shakes”
Benchmark also predicts an uptick in alternative dairy products – particularly, in milk. That includes your almond and soy milk, but also new varieties like oak milk, which is terrific in coffees and shakes. The other trend that this dessert delivers on is bright and bolder colors on the plate by incorporating tie-dye marshmallows (stores carry bags of them in psychedelic colors) in the s’more.