Science of Events survey highlights lack of food at events

An industry survey conducted by event caterer Jackson Gilmour and the Science Museum has revealed 80% of participants have left events feeling hungry.

Jackson Gilmour and the Science Museum reveal event attendee eating habits
Jackson Gilmour and the Science Museum reveal event attendee eating habits

The Science of Events online survey was undertaken by caterers and received 170 responses. The survey, which focused on food and drink at events, forms part of the two companies' wider project to find out what makes the perfect event.

The results revealed 12% of people felt they had not had enough to drink, and 30% of those surveyed said they had drunk too much at events.

Francis O’Hagan, Jackson Gilmour director of operations, said: "Event organisers might want to think about putting more emphasis on food and a little less on drinks. Our survey results suggest that, in general, people are satisfied with the type and quantities of drinks on offer, but they expressed stronger views about the food."

He added with the added pressures of budget, food at events "can get neglected".

The survey also found 64% of participants preferred canapés, ahead of food stations and bowl food, which both received 20% of votes.

When it came to sit-down dinners, 82% of online respondents said they would prefer to eat something new and exciting, with 18% enjoying menus with something familiar and comforting.

"This is an interesting and slightly unexpected result," said O’Hagan. "Event organisers tend to err on the side of caution when they are choosing menus for client dinners often opting for duck, lamb and beef. But these results indicate that guests might enjoy the opportunity to try something more challenging – and a more adventurous menu can be a great talking point and ice breaker."

The Science of Events survey highlighted 85% of individuals were ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ interested in how the caterer sources their ingredients. Only 32% of people said they were concerned by the amount of calories in their food.

Alicia Earls, communications manager for corporate events at the Science Museum, said: "We know that consumers in general are concerned by responsible food sourcing and quality ingredients and this growing trend is reflected in these results. I’m sure it is a view that will interest event organisers; people are entitled to expect the best quality from their luxury caterer."

On 10 July the industry will be able to attend an event, called 'The Perfect Event', at the Science Museum where the format for the perfect event equation will be revealed based on the survey's results.

Next month Jackson Gilmour and the Science Museum will be revealing the survey results on guests' views on venues. In May they will be highlighting the thoughts of survey participants on other event elements such as lighting, entertainment and staffing.

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