Top food trends: a taste of what’s to come


Top food trends: a taste of what’s to come

Catering is a fast-moving sector, where tastes constantly change. Lovely Ranganath, in-house nutritionist at Dubai World Trade Centre, shares seven trends shaping the food and beverage industry today


1. New and innovative immersive experiences

The events industry is constantly looking to adopt new and exciting immersive experiences. Within the F&B sphere, that means food served with a side helping of fun. Think live taco bar with fresh-to-order tortillas, a pizzaiolo who can create and toss pizza dough in front of attendees, and a chocolatier – ideal for weddings – who can help guests to craft their very own box of chocolates. These innovative and interactive experiences a​re replacing older ideas such as fondue stations and chocolate fountains. Ramp up the fun factor and incorporate them into your next event.


2. Reducing food waste

Globally, food waste has been a major challenge for the catering industry. There’s now an expectation among event attendees that venues, companies and brands will be resource-smart. People want to see sustainable and sensible catering, not discarded food and unnecessary packaging. It’s a concept we’re strongly committed to here at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and that we actively pursue with innovative solutions. It’s also a practice that’s gaining wider global attention. Typical steps include finding alternative uses for food waste such as donating leftovers to local charities or workers’ groups; using more biodegradable and renewable packaging and presentation methods; and choosing in-season ingredients and partnering with local suppliers who support sustainability initiatives. Adding more recycling bins and informing attendees about what products can be reused is also becoming common.


3. Keeping it raw

Raw seafood, in the form of crudo, ceviche and tartare, has been to 2019 what the poke bowl was to 2018 – an out and out craze. Equally, this year has seen a move away from fried food to fresher options, such as creative vegan-friendly concepts. These include carrot gravlax, beetroot jerky and parsnip pastrami. Here at DWTC, we have incorporated both trends into our menus.


4. Adding style to sweets

For events with an emphasis on sugary sweets, we’re increasingly seeing traditional cakes and desserts being replaced with more creative options. Customised ice-cream stations, exotic fruit trees and doughnut towers are all growing in popularity, as well as unconventional wedding cakes such as an Italian Cannoli tower or a large ‘cookie cake’. Stylish creations that are real works of art, they also make great social media content. Popular techniques include edible metallic and gold foils, plus extravagant sugar art.


5. Increasing dietary options 

Looking ahead, it’s essential that the catering industry evolves to accommodate a wide range of restricted and speciality diets. DWTC is based in Dubai, yet caters to a global clientele. As such we’re very aware of the cultural and religious associations of food. In addition, we also create menus that meet the needs of guests who follow a wide range of diets. In 2019, a responsible caterer should offer vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free and fat-free dishes. These aren’t fads, or requests from ‘minority’ customers; they’re now mainstream and essential. As a nutritionist, I’m proud that DWTC continues to lead in this field.


6. Bread is back

In 2019, bread came back into fashion – in a big way. Not that it ever went away, but as a catering trend it’s been very much at the forefront of industry discussion. This is largely because people are exploring the possibilities of baking bread made with speciality and heritage grains, or even not from grains at all, but from gluten-free, preservative-free flours that have been produced from legumes, nuts, seeds, cereals and fermented sourdoughs. As a trend there are some really interesting loaves out there, including chickpea flour, cassava flour and pea flour. It’s absolutely fascinating what you can make bread from.


7. Taking taste buds around the world

Menus that offer ‘tasting around the world’ has also seen a resurgence in 2019 and could well be the key trend for DWTC in 2020. Global food does, of course, mean two things. First, it’s about giving guests who have travelled to your event a taste of the local cuisine, culture and ingredients. For us, that means authentic Arabic dishes and Arabic experiences. Second, it’s about creating menus that combine and contrast different global cuisines in fresh, exciting ways. With Expo 2020 taking place next year, and the world coming to Dubai, this could definitely be the style, certainly here at DWTC. A year of taste-bud-tingling experiences awaits.



  • Dubai
  • Catering
  • Food & Beverage
  • DWTC