“We need to talk more about food” proclaims Jon Davies, Managing Director of Levy UK, part of Lime Venue Portfolio and the catering partner for many of our sport and confex venues. Fair enough, in the face of so much happening in the world of events, it’s sometimes possible for food to drop down the agenda, and Jon is keen to get it top of mind again.
However, while speaking to Jon, we see his ambition is a whole lot more than just ‘talking food’. The way people approach food; eating it, sourcing it, its provenance, and journey from farm to fork, is changing. So, for him, it’s about really looking at where food fits into the modern-day event experience.
“The events industry is talking a lot about experience, sustainability, wellness, health, and a new delegation with specific expectations of the events they go to. Well, food plays a part in every one of those aspects.” he comments, and it’s incredibly difficult to disagree with him.
“We’ve done a huge amount of research on the changing habits of people towards food,” continues Jon. “This isn’t just within the events environment, the talk about food has evolved both at the dinner table and the banqueting table. This could be the rise of ‘Veganism’, the blue planet syndrome around plastics, higher concern on wastage, and the arrival of the circular economy; these things are everywhere, and we’re looking to be a massive part of it.”
So, how do we get food back at the top of the event agenda?
Jon maps it out in a characteristically succinct manor; “We need to adopt a modern approach to food. This is brilliantly summarised by the campaigner and author Michael Pollen; ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants.’
Breaking it down it means; eat food, eat proper food, well sourced, not processed, that lets natural ingredients speak for themselves. Eat good, tasty and diverse food.
‘Not too much’ refers to portion size, not putting too much on the plate. Then we have ‘mostly plants’, and it’s a nice way of putting it. Meat has for too long dominated the plate, and we need to change the balance between meat and vegetables. It’s not about going entirely vegan but understanding the environmental impact of meat and giving more options for plates that are dominated by vegetables and fruit.”
Lime Venue Portfolio is keen to be part of event organisers and delegates education around better food choices. This isn’t about lecturing, but about trying to have more open conversations around some of the more inconvenient truths around food. This means discussions between event organisers and delegates, to manage their expectations, as well as those between event planner, venue and chefs.
We need to openly discuss major talking points such as wastage and the balance between managing waste and what we at LVP have coined #FORO, or ‘fear of running out’.
Jon explains, “The fact of the matter is we’re all petrified of running out; and rightly so, no event organiser likes having hungry and irate delegates, especially in a banquet situation. However, it leads us to over order, over compensate and the end product is too much waste; we need to manage this much better, and we can do it with open conversations that tackle the subject head on.”
To take on some of the bigger issues around food and events requires new thinking; Jon, over to you … “We need to break up traditional formats and give food its rightful place in a new event world. Again, this is something event organisers are already doing, but we should be seeing more of it at major events like gala dinners. For me, this is about bringing chefs out into the event, having more sharing plates, live cooking, live tasting and more theatre; it can really add some sparkle into what is, already, a luxurious event format.”
“However, some events haven’t changed their formats for decades, and it’s time we helped them see other ways of serving large quantities of food, in a more modern way, that adds to the experience and doesn’t disrupt the event. If we can get chefs out there, they can regulate waste, push new and different ways of eating and generally be a positive voice for better food. The results we have seen from doing this have been amazing and we really want to be an advocate for it.”
It’s a really interesting approach, which for Lime Venue Portfolio combines our love of food, our love of great events, and our constant need to listen to our customers and understand the events they are creating every day. An event where indulgence can still take place, but with an ethical and sustainable approach? What’s not to like?Back to articles