What is good conference food? What do you need to know before choosing an event menu? And what is best if the results are to be top notch?
Get the experts' advice for meeting catering, and also get their explanation of why meeting catering is crucial to ensure the greatest possible benefit from your next meeting or event.
Rasmus Bredahl works with gastronomic behavior design together with his partner Nikolaj Buchardt, where they, among other things. helps companies improve their food concepts, including meeting catering.
He explains why meeting catering plays a key role in creating the best results:
"If I say to you 'be creative' or think some bold angle, then most people will be completely blank, but if you are with some people who are dynamic and funny, or if you get some wine gum that tastes of tabasco, then something happens. The brain starts working, and then you actually get the dynamics that are needed, ” - says Rasmus Bredahl, who is also co-author of the cookbook “Neurogastronomy”, which is based on how the brain controls your taste impressions.
But what is good meeting catering that gives results?
Gitte Høj believes that it is about providing the best conditions for concentration and learning with healthy diet choices.
She is a nutritionist and advisor to individuals and companies in a healthy lifestyle, and is behind the books "Boost your run" and "Boost your digestion in 21 days".
“Companies need to think outside the box so that the meeting participants get a feeling that here you can do something other than the usual coffee and cake. The food must be delicious and well-cooked and have the right health composition, ”
says Gitte Høj.
*"The right health composition for meeting catering is achieved when these three points are present:
- Fats to keep our blood sugar and hormone system stabilized
- Carbohydrate to provide energy and break down sugar
- Protein to set the processes in motion And when we think of energy and concentration, white bread and meat from four-legged animals should be completely opted out. White bread is easily metabolizable carbohydrates, which makes you hungry already in the morning, and meat from four-legged animals requires* a lot of energy to break down because the meat's protein structure is so complex,”
says Gitte Høj.
The afternoon sugar craving should therefore be done with almonds, bananas, smoothies, rye bread snacks, vegetables and fruit. Happy cooked and served in a surprising way.
Because according to both experts, there is a greater opportunity for commitment and good performance when we get out of our comfort zone. Eg. with Rasmus Bredahl's edible flowerpot:
“I sprayed a flowerpot with smoked cheese cream and stuffed carrot tops into a layer of soil made from rye bread crumbs as a snack for 130 meeting participants, both to give them a healthy dish and to challenge them. This is because what we remember and thus talk about, also in relation to food, is not necessarily the most tasty dish, but is the dish with a dramaturgical element, where you are lifted out of your gastronomic comfort zone and notions of , how food should be, ”
says Rasmus Bredahl and explains why it is like this:
"95 percent of the time we are in what is called in behavioral psychology system 1. It is the habitual thing from the time we get up in the morning until we go to bed and which our brain tries to pull over to because the brain is designed in such a way that it prefers to use as little energy as possible. ”
The task of the meeting planner or event manager is therefore to send the meeting participants over to system 2, where the results occur:
“Here the brain is super-concentrated and we are able to shut things out because we are so focused. But it can only be for a very short time at a time, because it uses too much processing power on it, and then it constantly tries to move us into the system of habits 1. ”
And then we reach out for the candy bowl and Facebook. Isolates us in each our bubble, until the fatigue manifests itself on top of the sugar shock, and we stare blankly at the white walls devoid of any creative thought.
As a meeting manager, you may feel the same way and sweat on your forehead. How should the next session be other than downhill?
"It's about pushing people so they get more experiences in system 2, because we remember everything better there. The conference venues could therefore make use of psychology's notion of anchoring. For what one has discussed or been taught is best anchored when one has at the same time been lifted out of one's comfort zone. Not as something unpleasant but by thinking about atmosphere, creativity and provocation in food, setting and surroundings, ”
recommends Rasmus Bredahl.
But meeting catering that surprises doesn’t have to be just edible soil. It can also be to challenge the meeting participants with movement and healthy shots:
“When arranging meetings and events, it is obvious to pulse talk. Introduce small exercises with e.g. squats, because it releases glucose into our bloodstream, which means that your body no longer has the same urge for something sweet, and it is not something you otherwise experience, ”
says Gitte Høj and continues:
“You can also serve ginger or wheatgrass shots, which just give this suck down through the body, and for many will be experienced as a different meeting snack. Not everyone will like it, but it gives us something to talk about other than the usual peanuts. ”
Foods containing tryptophan. An amino acid that produces the happiness hormone serotonin:
The idea of using the surroundings consciously and embedding small or large surprises stems from e.g. from Oxford University, where Professor of Food Psychology Charles Spence has done research proving that it is possible to manipulate the brain through food and the senses.
Eg. he served the same Italian food in two different rooms.
One completely white and the other nicely decorated with everything it could draw from Italian decor with bast wine bottles and red checkered tablecloths.
Although there was not the slightest difference in the food, there was a significant difference in how the subjects experienced it.
In the Italian space, the pasta bolognese just tasted best. In the same way, crispy seaweed chips taste extra good with water views, served on rocks and with the scent of the sea.
“My advice is to create a context-specific serving. If you want to make an innovation day, then it must be innovative food, where you get to turn your ideas upside down and activate your imagination. Eg. with dessert burgers or curries, "
says Rasmus Bredahl.
Porridge, preferably with some fat such as oil, a dollop of butter or almonds, and / or eggs, avocado, cottage cheese, smoked salmon, rye bread, smoothies / freshly squeezed juices, and if there are sausages on the breakfast buffet, the meat content must be high.
Often there is a buffet and then it is best to go for the light such as salads, fish and poultry. You should sit with a light, full and satisfied feeling afterwards, without feeling crowded. If there is a possibility of portion dishes, it is preferable because it prevents us from overeating, which makes us tired and unwell. Set up for movement. Eg. a walk around the deck so we can digest the food and walk our daily 10,000 steps.
Salads, fish and poultry. If you love roast beef, wait until the second day when the event is over.
Almonds, shots of ginger, beetroot or wheatgrass, mini rye bread pieces, sliced fruit, coffee, tea and plenty of water as well as heart rate snacks (squats, brisk walking, a few yoga exercises)
Gitte Høj, nutrition expert.
It requires an overview to plan events, conferences, company parties and meetings. The success of your next event depends on whether the relationship between the good idea, details and planning is in balance.