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Top 5 Catering Food Trends

Though crowded events may be temporarily paused, small-scale catering is still on, and large-scale will be back soon enough. Let’s get a jump on planning now. Woolco consults on catering menus and supplies the ingredients necessary to execute each dish and beverage, no matter the theme or the requirements. Some trends we’re seeing right now? More whole foods, more alt foods, less meat, less alcohol. Sounds like a new year plan if we’ve ever heard one. Read our full list below.

5. Oat milk

There was a time when plant-based milks—soy, almond, hemp, coconut—were the indie rock stars of the dairy aisle, but they’ve since gone mainstream. Oat milk, in particular, has become ubiquitous in the last two years, lining the shelves of supermarket fridges and readily available at baristas’ stations. At least one dairy alternative is pretty much mandatory for any catered occasion, but it’s good to offer what people are asking for at the moment. And aside from almond milk, it’s oat that’s in demand. (Bonus point: Oat milk is also one of the more sustainable alt milks.) 

4. Superfoods

Yes, superfoods are still a “thing,” because, in the end, “superfood” isn’t an officially recognized food category, but a way of identifying foods thought to be particularly nutrient and vitamin dense. Think blueberries, beets, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens. To call these trendy is  a bit of a stretch: fish is a great source of protein year-round. Berries aren’t trendy—they’re seasonal. But it’s all in the presentation, right? Craft a menu that’s health-forward and environmentally conscious, rich in vitamins and stripped of any processed nonsense. Woolco can work with you on identifying the most sustainable, healthful, economical ingredients—from produce to grains—for your next Superfood Spectacular. 

3. Plant-Based Meals  

Remember that oat milk? The bend toward plant-based dining goes beyond beverages into every meal and course. As we mentioned in a previous post, between 2017 and 2019, plant-based product sales in the US grew by 31.3%. Modern diners have embraced vegan dining in a big way, and the future of food consumption is likely to reflect those preferences.  

Woolco’s extensive produce inventory supports the meat-free imagination, because we recognize that any great meal—plant-based or not—starts with carefully sourced products. Avocados, beets, almonds, mushrooms, peas—our quality produce transitions beautifully into thoughtful, meatless menus. 

2. Free-From Foods 

Whether added in anticipation of potential allergies or to assuage dietary restrictions, gluten-free and dairy-free menu options are now as essential as vegetarian and vegan offerings. It actually doesn’t feel like much of a stretch to say that catering an event with just as many “free-from” foods as “with foods” is the smart move at this point. 

Woolco has the gluten substitutes (like sweet rice and tapioca flours), the alt milk inventory (oat, soy, almond), and just about any quality produce you can imagine. 

1. Mocktails

Dry doesn’t have to mean boring—non-alcoholic cocktails are exciting without the next-day headache. A drink like the Honey Blackberry Mint Mocktail is special enough for an occasion (and even kinda healthy?), and Woolco Foods is stocked with the base ingredients (blackberries, ginger beer, LaCroix Sparkling Water) and the garnish (candied ginger, mint, basil, and cucumber). 

But don’t stop with that recipe. Keep in mind that mocktails lend themselves to food pairings in the same way wines and other alcoholic drinks do. Use the basic equation—sparkling water, fruit, herbs, and sweetener—and dream up a combo that complements the rest of the menu. 

Woolco: A Partner Catering to Your Needs

Woolco Foods has built a reputation around exceptional customer service, sensible pricing, and an unmatched selection. Our partnership extends beyond supplying ingredients—we work with clients to develop menus and execute creative visions. When it comes to catering, we can help you navigate this new normal and plan for events accordingly.

Learn more about our leadership in the NYC food distribution world, and connect with us to discuss catering consultation and pricing.