In the world of event planning, you have to think of every possible detail ahead of time, as doing so will mean that you can be prepared and act accordingly in any given situation.
Dietary restrictions have always been around in our society, but these days they seem a lot more prevalent as many people are choosing to restrict or omit certain foods for personal health or wellness reasons. Add this growing number of people to the already large group who's diet is restricted for religious traditions and you may find that your event could have anywhere from five to ten different types of meals being served.
Today we’re helping you familiarize yourself with some of the most common dietary restrictions you may be faced with in the industry. Here are seven special dietary needs to consider when planning your event:
Vegetarianism is nothing new, but it definitely seems like a lot more people are choosing to switch their knives for forks and fill their plates with veggies rather than meat. This could partly be caused by an expanding awareness of the commercial cattle farm industry, or perhaps the rising cost of quality meat in the market. Whatever the reason, you’re almost guaranteed to have at least a few vegetarians in the crowd, so keep this in mind when planning your event.
Veganism takes the ideologies of vegetarianism and builds on them to exclude not just meat, but any animal products or by-products. This means no dairy, no butter, no eggs and no meat stock of any kind. Successful vegan cooking takes a fair amount of skill and knowledge so if you’re crowd has a high vegan ratio, consider talking with your caterer to ensure they are experienced in this style of cuisine.
Halal food may be one of the most popular religious diets these days, as the Muslim population of the GTA is growing at a rapid rate. Halal is Arabic for permissible and it means food that adheres to Islamic law as defined in the Koran. This is especially important for any meats being served, as there is a very strict process for slaughter that must be followed to certify the meat as halal.
Similar to halal, kosher food has to do with Jewish dietary law (known as kashrut) and also involves very specific methods for animal slaughter. If there is large Jewish representation at your event, consider hiring a caterer that specializes in kosher cuisine to ensure that your guests receive the best meal possible.
5. Celiac Disease (Gluten-Free)
Gluten and wheat-free meals are hugely popular right now and there are usually two reasons a guest may state these dietary needs. Some people are choosing to avoid wheat or gluten simply for personal health and wellness reasons, but others may have celiac disease. With this disease, the small intestine is actually damaged by gluten present in any foods. When planning your event, it’s important to distinguish between dishes that are wheat or grain-free and those that are truly gluten-free.
6. Lactose Intolerant
A lot of people do not consume dairy these days, which can also either be by personal choice, or due to an allergy. Lactose intolerance is a condition where a person cannot fully digest the lactose (sugar) in dairy products and these dietary needs should be considered carefully.
7. Nut Allergies
Any parent of young children is probably familiar with the prevalence of nut allergies in today’s population. Many schools have gone so far as to completely ban peanuts and other nuts to product students. It’s important to always label nuts or nut products at your event and you may even go as far as excluding them from your menu all together.