By Natacha Allen, head of sales and marketing at the Royal College of Physicians Meetings & Events
Healthy, sustainable food is an important part of the event offering today. Delegates food expectations have increased, and event planners need to be seen to be operating sustainably. Food has always been a key element of our offering at the RCP yet, now more than ever, the produce used in our menus has been scrutinised for its origin, quality and freshness. We recently launched our spring and summer 2019 event menus with our caterer CH&CO. From cutting down the amount of salt in our dishes to using sugar alternatives, these are just some of the sustainable food initiatives we have adopted below:
- Increasing the proportion of vegetable-led dishes on menus to combat environmental damage
- Purchasing high welfare meat and dairy products
- Serving sustainably-caught fish to ensure the future of fish stocks and marine environments
- Sourcing fairly-traded produce to ensure farmers in the developing world have access to a trade system based on justice and fairness
- Offering balanced menu options, reasonable portions and healthy options to cater for customers’ needs
- Offering healthier alternatives with sandwiches and dishes under 500 calories available
- Menus with 50% of dishes containing below the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of salt, and Stevia introduced instead of sugar
It was important for us to put healthy, sustainable food at the core of the new menu offerings yet also create menus that offer first-class food, wine and service that are appealing to delegates.
For BBQs and meetings using the RCP’s garden for lunch, for example, the menus are based around street food stalls serving Italian-inspired pizzas, City Dog’s burgers and sausages, Asian inspired sushi and Brick Lane inspired curry.
For receptions at the venue the menu is based on interactive canape stations serving salmon cut to order, hot griddled lamb and frozen lollipopsmade by our chefs on our liquid nitrogen anti-griddle.
Working lunch menus are focused around sharing boards which take their inspiration from international cuisine including a British board serving honey and mustard cocktail sausages and rare roast beef open sandwiches, a Moroccan board serving spiced chicken skewers and Tabbouleh and an Indian board, among others.
We want to show others that sustainable need not be boring or bland and, as an industry, we all have a duty to do what we can to look after our planet.