Menu Trends 2022
As we launch our fresh new 2022 menus, we take a look at the top food and beverage trends that have helped shape this season’s phenomenal fare. Plant power, gluten free and small-footprint produce are top of our list, with eco-packaging and local libations rounding out the field.
The ‘Reducetarianism’ movement - aka reducing the amount of meat and other animal products you consume without going cold turkey - has seen a mainstream shift away from meat-focussed mains toward plant-based vegetarian and vegan meals. More and more chefs – including ours - are committing to creating delicious, nutritious meals that champion fruit and vegetable content over animal products, and meat-free alternatives are no longer just for the fringe (sorry, Nanna). It’s good for the planet, good for people and we’re pretty sure the cows are big fans, too.
As our cities continue to spread, urban agriculture is becoming increasingly important. The benefits are manifold and include helping to address food insecurity, foster human connection to food, and increase biodiversity within our urban environments. More sophisticated enterprises like Melbourne Skyfarm – a thriving 2000m2 urban rooftop farm built on what was previously an MCEC carpark – help drive eco-tourism and provide education and immersion opportunities that many would otherwise miss out on. Skyfarm will harvest around 5 tons of produce each year, much of which will be donated to local food charities. It will also supply local kitchens with fresh seasonal produce, reducing carbon footprints, enhancing consumer connection with their food and supporting the sustainability of ‘local harvest’ options like our 100-mile menu. It’s a win-win-win, and a great example of why urban farming has nowhere to go but up.
No longer a niche, going without gluten is becoming a popular choice for many, whether you’re intolerant or simply looking to live a little lighter. We’ve added a great selection of new gluten-friendly options to our menus and our guts are already thanking us.
Eliminating the use of problematic single-use plastics at our venues is a key feature of MCEC’s comprehensive new five-year sustainability strategy , and our popular EcoBoxes are a perfect example of how we’re achieving that. Designed as an alternative to plastic takeaway containers, our EcoBoxes are a sustainable – and appealing – option for on-the-go meals as part of our 2022 Conference menu .
Premium non-alcoholic options have become big business over the past couple of seasons and it’s no surprise that Melbourne is producing some of the nation’s best ‘zero per cent’ brews. With top shelf seltzer’s from Abbotsford’s Moon Dog Brewery and a range oof delicious cold pressed juices, soft drinks and mocktails, there are plenty of options available for anyone looking to enjoy a tipple without the headaches.
Need more inspo? Check out our latest food and beverage offering .