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Eating Cleaner

By Sandra Eagle

With the recent launch of Canada’s newest food guide and the increasing awareness of how a meat-centric diet is harmful to the planet, meeting planners have a lot to discuss with food and beverage departments in hotels, venues and convention centres. Event dining usually follows an arc in popularity in restaurant menus, so here’s a roundup of cresting trends you might expect to see unfurl over the next 12 months, and eventually on a plate near you.

At the recent Restaurants Canada Show, held in Toronto at the end of February, the trend to plant-based, cleaner eating is continuing. Root-to-stem cooking incorporates using all parts of a vegetable from stalks and leaves and carrot tops in a dish, instead of throwing them away. Plant-based milks (think oat or pea milk) and barley protein are looking to replace animal-based meats.

Another trend not quite here yet, but emerging, is the interest in lab-grown or clean meat. Samples of muscle tissue can be grown in a lab from cows, pigs and chickens and combined with stem cells to generate meat without having to raise or kill animals. None of these products are in the market yet, but on the horizon.

Expect to see different types of green on your plate, from sea greens like kelp noodles to fish alternatives made from algae. Another type of green—cannabis—is curating interest, regulations about edibles and infused beverages is expected in Canada this year.

Look for sugar reduction in menus and desserts—with substitutions coming from plant-based sources such as carrot, sweet potato butternut squash and corn.

And sweet has turned to savoury in the drink department as well. Culinary cocktails will ramp up the savoury from leaves and stems of veggies and herbs to create drinks that close the gap between kitchen and bar with different flavours in combination with spirits such as vermouth, sherry and Aperol.

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