With the focus on health and wellness growing in prominence, managing dietary needs is a top priority for meeting planners.
The IACC, in collaboration with the World Obesity Foundation and industry partners such as MPI, has launched the Guide to Managing Conference Delegate Dietary Requirements. It is designed to help meeting and event planners manage partnerships and liaison with venues on the topic of dietary needs and requirements to ensure delegate health and wellbeing.
The guide also explains the various allergens and emerging diets, including religious requirements and health-related allergens, and provides advice and practical tips on how to place delegate health and wellbeing at the heart of events without compromising on experience.
In particular, the guide also highlighted a gap between delegates' expectations and the measures taken by venues to fulfil them. While there have been more dietary requests compared to two years ago, only 75% of venues offer training to staff on serving people with allergies, and only 33% of venues include basic nutritional information on their menus.
Mark Cooper, IACC CEO, said, "As we conducted more research, we saw clearly that there was some valuable insights and best practices that, if adopted, would help both our planner and venue community. This is just the beginning and we hope that in the near future we will see more training and certifications to support the competent management of dietary needs."
Anna Hess, IACC Americas Board associate and guide project leader, added, "It is vital that we embrace the concept of understanding and managing delegate dietary requirements effectively. There is so much we can do both as planners and venues to make this a totally manageable process and reduce the risks of getting something wrong."
IACC plans to follow up on this trend with two webinars in January 2019 focused on food and beverage trends for meeting planners and venues.