Christmas is always one of our favourite times of the year, and one of the busiest for the events industry, but here at LVP we're extra excited for the 2021 festive period. After “celebrating” in isolation last year, and after almost two years of restrictions on special occasions and get-togethers, we’re hoping this Christmas will be extra special.

Whether you're planning your office Christmas do or organising an intimate private dining event with your top clients, remember that it's the catering that will be one of the main talking points - 45% of all event feedback is now focused on food. Lockdown has influenced our eating and drinking habits more than we predicted, and some of these changes look like they’re here to stay.

Take a look at what we’re predicting to be the 10 biggest food trends for Christmas 2021.

Want to book a Christmas party with a catering experience that guests won’t forget? Take a look at our Christmas packages.

1. Indulgent Experiences

Since most of the country was limited to celebrating inside their own home last year, dining out is going to feel extra-special this Christmas. Expect to see venues go all out on the theming and decor, and for food and drink options to deliver a sense of luxury, significance and exclusivity. Tasting menus, wine pairings and a sense of the theatrical are likely to be a feature of many festive events.

2. Meat Free

1 in 4 Brits cut back on the amount of animal products they consume during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Vegan Society. It’s no longer the norm to just have one veggie or vegan option on a menu - venues and caterers now put as much thought into crafting delicious, innovative meat-free meals as they do the alternative. Look out for vegan wines on the drinks list, too.

3. Local and Sustainable Ingredients

It’s highly unusual now for delegates and guests to not expect their food to be as ‘green’ as possible. With awareness of the impact that food supply chains can have on the planet at an all-time high, people want to see evidence that what they’re eating has been sourced thoughtfully and locally.

4. Low or no alcohol

More and more UK adults are now going teetotal, including almost 1 in 4 young adults. Thanks to this move away from the hard stuff, the diversity of choice in non-alcoholic drinks has seen some really exciting alternatives crop up in time for Christmas. Expect to see lots of 0.5% ABV craft beers and alcohol-free spirits such as Seedlip.

5. Traditional Christmas Fare

Due to last Christmas being anything but normal, with many people not being able to see their family, never mind attend parties and events, we’re expecting to see a return to the familiar and comforting in 2021. Think turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas crackers, party hats and games.

6. Mushrooms

The fact that mushrooms are packed with nutrients and high in antioxidants isn't new. The fact they're being used in anything from coffee and chocolate bars to beauty products and burgers is. Expect some confit or pickled mushrooms on your Christmas dinner plate, perhaps even served with a mushroom-based cocktail! Read more about the importance of mushrooms here.

7. Bitter Flavours

As we've seen bitter cocktails like Aperol Spritz and Negronis gaining in popularity, the 'bitter' trend will spread into the general food and drink market too. For your Christmas meal think black coffee, dark chocolate, char-grilled meats and craft beers.

8. Fermentation

A lot of people got really into fermenting and preserving food as a hobby in lockdown. Kombucha, kimchi and sourdough were the words on everyone’s lips, so you can expect to see this trend continue into the Christmas period and start to appear on festive menus. Pickled ingredients can be found in various dishes, or be served as a snack on their own.

9. Experimental Cocktails

Make-your-own-cocktail kits saw an upsurge of popularity in lockdown, both as gifts to send loved ones and as self-treats to spice up isolation. Vendors and venues will look to capitalise on this interest by offering new twists on the old classics, or bespoke creations that guests have never seen before.

10. Umami

One of the biggest food buzzwords of the last few years shows no sign of slowing down. As the fifth of the five definable flavours, umami means “pleasant savoury taste” and appears in everything from seafood to tomatoes to green tea. Thanks to its rich depth of flavour you’ll see it all over menus this Christmas, which is good news for those who like their food to pack a punch.

Planning a festive celebration? Take a look at our Christmas party venues.

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