A hotel, a meeting planner and a caterer weigh in on the latest
F&B trends for meeting planners. These include collaborations with
local chefs, ‘superfood’ corners and revamped F&B options.
Infusing local flavours creatively
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands (MBS) said it is important to be
innovative with its offerings, particularly when it comes to local
flavours. In one example, it created a crab meat wanton canapé topped
with chilli crab sauce, enabling guests to savour Singapore’s signature
chilli crab dish in a convenient, bite-sized format.
“We have also collaborated with home-grown brands such as Kway Guan
Huat Joo Chiat Popiah, Sing Swee Kee Chicken Rice, and Haig Road Putu
Piring to offer guests an authentic taste of Singapore,” said Ong Wee
Min, VP of sales and MICE at the resort hotel. “Understanding that most
overseas delegates have very tight schedules during events, these
collaborations with local brands allow us to offer them a diverse range
of local delights.
Giving healthy options
In response to requests for more healthy options, Marina Bay Sands
has also set up ‘superfood’ corners, featuring grains and other healthy
ingredients, within its kitchens. The idea is to allow chefs easy access
to nutritious ingredients, and added convenience when including these
in banquet dishes.
On the sustainability front, the hotel uses produce from its two
edible gardens at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, and it has also
partnered with The Food Bank Singapore to donate unserved food from its
events, to benefit communities in need.
CWT Meeting & Events’ regional operations director for Asia
Pacific, Luther Low, says that some clients and attendees are moving
away from plant-based meats as there are concerns about these being
ultra-processed and high in sodium.
“Instead, we’re seeing a lot of interest in mushrooms for vegetarian
or vegan options,” he says. “Not only do they work really well as a meat
alternative in dishes like rendang, they’re also great from a
sustainability point of view.
Low also notes that even in a place like Singapore with very limited
agricultural production, many hotels and restaurants are partnering with
urban farms to source their herbs and vegetables or edible flowers for
Watching budgets with self-service food stations
Michelle Sargent, director, Australia & New Zealand at CWT
Meetings & Events, offers tips on how planners can get creative to
keep costs under control.
“While it is hard in the current environment to reduce menu choices
due to the long list of attendee dietary requirements, planners can
consider options such as self-service food stations or packed lunches
that require fewer banquet staff,” she says. “Some clients are also
selecting destinations that are less expensive on the whole, so that
they don’t have to compromise on F&B and other elements of the
Sargent adds that the farm-to-table concept is now translating to
beverages that use seasonal ingredients, while interest in iced coffee,
local teas, fresh herbs and spices, and carbonated options is also
growing. Hotels are embracing customised beverage trends and clients are
requesting an experience around products with a rich history and that
are considered unique or special.
Singapore-based caterer, Jeremy Chua, senior sales manager of Lavish,
said clients are increasingly opting for a curated selection of food
that better reflects their values, especially in terms of supporting
local businesses and sustainable practices.
Saving time with bento
“We have been seeing more requests for luxe minimalistic set course
meals, where multi-course meals are served bento style,” he says. “These
served meals are a time-saver for C-level meetings and yet they provide
a well-balanced and curated meal that can rival restaurants’ lunch
Petite bespoke sweets
According to Chua, there is more emphasis on treats and sweet things,
as the treats are usually in petite portions. This makes it perfect for
gifting and importantly, there is the opportunity for a bespoke
offering, such as customised flavours, taste profiles and even a message
“There is also a move away from buying bulk and just providing random
gifting,” he says. “These options can range from classic desserts to
unique and creative sweet treats that cater to all tastes. Clients
expect mindful sustainable gifting and visually appealing sweet options
that add to the overall experience of the event.”