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2024 Event Trends

For many of us in the event industry, there is BC—before Covid—and after lockdown. While it took most of 2021 and well into 2022 to recover from the pandemic, 2023 proved the year where customization and personalization took root in terms of event trends and catering. As Artificial Intelligence and sustainability become greater focal points in society, innovation and going green are the buzz words of 2024.

As death rates and health care budgets soared during the pandemic, more people have made their health a focus. Veganism and gluten free are no longer considered fringe cults, but are two of the most asked for menu items from caterers after vegetarian and dairy-free. Farm-to-table with locally sourced food has become popular, as have labels and icon legends on menus for people with food allergies and preferences.

Technology is taking over the kitchen. It’s not just QR codes and electronic tablets, some companies are toying with serving robots; others are using AI to analyze customer preferences, trending ingredients, and profitable dishes to curate menus that delight palates and maximize revenues. Some kitchens are embracing both health and wellness sustainability by removing hoods, grills, and fryers, and reducing plastic use with bamboo cutlery and BYOB (for bottles, not beer).

Love Sign with Chinese Lanterns on grass: event decor

On the event cleaning front, more municipalities are requiring trash separation into refuse, organics, and recycling for large scale events. Many dumpster companies insist that liquid (which ruins recyclable items) be kept out of their containers, necessitating the use of liquid receptacles like Pour Aways.

Economically, inflation is affecting every corner of our business, with many clients and companies tightening budgets and trying to eke the most out of every dollar spent. Staffing shortages is an industry wide issue from catering to janitorial as many workers fled the service industry during the pandemic and haven’t found it economically feasible to return. Everything costs more which is why quality and customer care are that much more important.

On the positive side, the boomerang effect of lockdown is that people are still craving personal connection and great events that emphasize experience, creativity and innovation. In the never-ending search for content, events that boast Instagrammable activations, food, and decor, are huge draws for the Millennial and Gen-Z generations. And creating interesting ways for consumers to interact with products and film them leads to greater exposure on video platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok.

To paraphrase Carl Reed (can you guess the reference?) PopUP CleanUP is the eyes and ears of the event world, my friends. If you need a free quote or consultation, please reach out.

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