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ABPCO strives for a sustainable food future

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ABPCO and its partner members gathered at Cheltenham Racecourse last week to discuss the importance of food in association conference planning.

The event was hosted by ABPCO preferred partner, Lime Venue Portfolio at its Jockey Club Venue, Cheltenham Racecourse.

The roundtable event focused on the responsibility organisers face when planning events and the importance of the relationship between organiser and venue catering teams.

Key highlights of the discussion included the need to understand attendee numbers and demographics and how to use data to order food, based on figures and requirements. 

The need for greater communication was further highlighted. PCOs should include questions about food sustainability, waste and wellbeing as part of their RFPs. This information should then become part of the delegate communication process, via apps, websites and registration.

There should be also be an understanding of the supply chain.

Tom Parry, Regional Executive Chef, The Jockey Club, said: “Events have an ability to influence a large number of people and drive change in eating habits and individual perceptions of food. Cooking is powerful and transformative and through the engagement of chefs alongside organisers it can impact the way people choose to nourish themselves - not just at the event but through to the rest of their life. 

“The reality is that event chefs should be socially engaged and conscious of their responsibility to delegates and the environment, which means they are a key part in the process of making events and society more sustainable.”

Heather Lishman, executive director, ABPCO, concluded: “Ultimately, the discussion revealed the need for everyone on the event food chain to work in partnership and see delegate catering as a culture not just a source of sustenance. 

“Health and wellbeing, brain food, sustainable choices, flexitarianism – these are all words we know and recognise as event organisers. The next step though is to ensure they become a part of all our conversations. Food at events has moved on, chefs are more creative than ever, and we all need to keep pace to ensure we are delivering the best possible experience for our delegates.”