As meeting and event professionals, we’re constantly looking for ways to stay on top of evolving trends so that private group events held at Disney destinations are unique and memorable for attendees. Many times, we look to culinary innovation as the catalyst because it’s an easy and effective way to engage attendees. Here at Disney Meetings, we like to refer to this unique hybrid of entertainment and catering as “eatertainment.”

Recently, Convene highlighted the following food and beverage trends for 2015:

  • Healthy & Sustainable: Attendees want sustainable and local fare with a global palate, and more vegetarian and gluten-free options as well. They’re also looking for more customizable items.
  • Flavorful: Look for a growing infusion of sour, bitter and smoky flavors to influence menus in the future.
  • Beverage Varieties: Cold-brew coffee and herbal/green teas are making waves in the beverage category, so you’ll see an increasing thirst for unusual teas and water infusions as well.

At Disney, our catering teams are already incorporating these and other trends into our food and beverage menus for meeting and event groups, because when it comes to catered functions, we’re constantly pushing outside of conventional boundaries to deliver a “wow” for attendees.

These “eatertainment” moments can range from something as simple as an omelet station featuring surprising and unexpected ingredients, to a molecular-gastronomy presentation where guests are engaged as they watch chefs prepare their desserts using liquid nitrogen. The interaction with our Cast Members is both fun and enjoyable—and the customized nature of the interaction creates an individualized moment for each attendee, something they remember long after the event ends.

According to Bill Brown, Catering Chef at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, exciting culinary elements can be the difference between an ordinary event and an unforgettable experience for attendees. “Our world-class chefs and catering managers really work hard to create a memorable event experience through innovative and creative menus with seasonality in mind…and [we’re] really looking for food and beverage trends that are hot today,” he said.

We’re curious—are you seeing and incorporating these trends into your own events, or have you considered including “eatertainment” as part of the overall experience for your attendees? Join us on Facebook and Twitter to let us know!