IACC Survey Reveals Delegate Health is a Growing Priority at Events

October 18, 2017

The IACC has released the results of its Trends in Nutrition & Delegate Wellbeing survey, which asked venue respondents a series of questions regarding health choices available to attendees through menus and types of event spaces.

The results, officially released on Oct. 4, reveal that nutrition and wellbeing are high priorities for event delegates, and the demand for food that improves mental clarity and concentration levels is growing.

According to the report, venues are receiving more requests for foods that go beyond nutritional density, with attendees demanding “brain foods” that deliver superior wellbeing benefits through increased nutrient or mineral content. For example, walnuts, avocados, quinoa, blueberries, spinach and kale are thought to positively influence mental clarity, stress-relief and enhance energy distribution.

Thirty-eight percent of venues said they already offer specific “brain foods” on their menus.

“Earlier this year, our Meeting Room of the Future research revealed that brain food is important to delegates,” said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC, which is a global professional association representing small to medium-sized venues focused on meetings, training courses and conferences.

He continued, “Now, through this new research report on delegate nutrition and wellbeing, we see the opportunity to help with delegate alertness and attention is being taken seriously by an increasing number of venues.”

Healthy changes to break menus are also happening at more venues these days.

When asked, “Do you include basic nutritional information on your event breakfast, lunch and dinner menus?” 75 percent of venues either said they already do or plan to so in the future. Additionally, 88 percent said they have made changes to their break menus based on health and wellness trends or client feedback.

“Meeting professionals are also increasingly asking for continuous food breaks to fuel their attendees,” said Jessie States, manager of professional development for Meeting Professionals International.

She continued, “The nutritional needs of an audience are as diverse as the individuals who comprise it. And people need the food that fuels them at a variety of different times. As meeting planners look to take a personal approach to the onsite experiences of diverse audiences, food becomes a major player in the design of welcoming and inclusive experiences.”

When asked which food requests they are receiving more now than two years ago, 100 percent of venue respondents said gluten-free, with many commenting that gluten-free has joined vegetarian as a standard menu choice.

In considering event spaces in relation to delegate health, the survey asked venues if they consider delegate health and wellbeing when making design decisions such as creating communal interaction areas or public spaces that offer quiet reflection.

In response to this question, 100 percent of responders who are operators of IACC venues confirmed that space outside of meetings rooms is being taken into consideration.

“We just completed a renovation of our public meetings space and this was a big consideration that led to a redesign of the pre-function space to better accommodate peoples’ ability to stay connected and have more private space to break away from the crowd for quiet,” said one venue respondent.

This makes sense as networking and relationship-building opportunities in spaces outside of meeting rooms are becoming more and more critical to event success.

“The focus is no longer only on the main room, so meeting planners should include details and dimensions of outside the room spaces in proposals and venue specifications,” Cooper added.

The full IACC Trends in Nutrition & Delegate Wellbeing survey report can be downloaded here.


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