This educational article was published on INSPIRED. The Vancouver Convention Centre Blog.

At the Vancouver Convention Centre we welcome all kinds of guests with all types of culinary tastes and preferences. Our in-house scratch kitchen loves creating delicious, healthy meals to keep our guests well fed, engaged and energized.

Chef Blair Rasmussen, executive chef at the Vancouver Convention Centre spent a few minutes with us, giving us his insights on what he thinks are the top five food trends for the year ahead.

Consumers increasingly want to know exactly what is in the food they’re eating. This is what is behind the push for GMO warning labels. People also want to know about nut traces and other allergens that may lurk on their plates. More information will allow those with dietary needs or preferences to properly look out for themselves.

Consumers will soon be expecting the catering and foodservice industries to follow the lead of Starbucks and burger chains in articulating the calorie counts and nutritional considerations for food being served. As the world becomes more aware of the dangers of obesity, this will become a new imperative for kitchens everywhere.

In line with globalization and a continual search for new and intriguing products, expect the unexpected. Watch for ingredients you perhaps have never heard of – fermented black garlic, Aleppo pepper, fruit wines, grass-fed beef, and Korean gochujang. People are craving new edibles from Spain and are looking out for the Ocean Wise approval label on their fish and seafood.

Low fat is the new Holy Grail. Conference goers, like everyone else, know more about the risks involved in being overweight and want to have healthy choices on their menus. The convention center, which last May received a Healthy Venue accreditation from the World Obesity Federation, is planning to serve more low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt items and plant-based proteins.

Watch next year for a push back to the anti-gluten movement. Wheat protein has been part of the macrobiotic diet scene long before the current gluten aversion began, as any self-respecting Buddhist monk will tell you. And they live pretty long lives.

The Convention Centre culinary team appreciate the trust convention organizers and delegates have in its innovative and quality food offerings and are inspired to keep working hard to exceed their expectations and to stay on the forefront of new dietary trends!