Catering Trends for 2024 - Merlin Venues

Catering Trends for 2024

20 February 2024

Food and drink are two of the most important parts of any event and as an organiser, staying ahead of the curve of the upcoming catering trends is a must.

Here at Merlin Venues, we host hundreds of event experiences every year, from parties and team-building to gala dinners and product launches, so we know a thing or two about what’s hot in the world of F&B.

Read on for our insiders’ take on what’s going to be hot in 2024.

Sustainable Catering Trends

Although we’re giving sustainability top billing in our 2024 trend round-up, we feel this placement is a little inaccurate. The word ‘trend’ suggests something might go out of fashion. But we’re prepared to go out on a limb and say that sustainable catering is here to stay.

No trend round-up would be complete without mentioning sustainability, as the topic still drives a lot of conversations in the industry. But we all still have a long way to go before every event can describe itself as truly sustainable.

‘Our catering partner, Seasoned, cooks with ethically and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible,’ says Merlin Venue’s Lauren Culleton. ‘This ensures their environmental impact is kept as low as possible and fosters support for like-minded businesses. They also prioritise minimising food waste and packaging. In fact, sustainability is at the heart of everything Seasoned does and we predict that this year, more and more catering companies will follow in their footsteps.’

More protein, Less meat

Long gone are the days of restaurants and events offering vegetarians one (invariably mushroom-based) option on the menu, and vegans simply being ignored. The increase in people following plant-based diets is on the up. As a consequence, event catering will continue to rise to the challenge of preparing inclusive, delicious food.

Gut health and general wellness will also continue to be of concern to guests throughout 2024. This means, in turn, caterers will focus their attention on these areas. We expect to see an increase in mood-boosting, pro-biotic-packed ingredients and a surge in transparency in regards to dishes’ nutritional value. Healthy food trends aren’t new, but we think 2024 will take things to a whole other level.

‘As more people prioritise mental health alongside their dietary choices, we’re fuelling both body and mind,’ says Culleton. ‘One of our standout dishes, with antioxidants and superfoods, is the Charred Cauliflower with a Mustard & Vegan Parmesan Crust, Caramelised Cauliflower Puree, Pomegranate & Toasted Seeds. It’s absolutely divine.’

Pop-up Catering Trends

There’s something special about pop-up catering. A pop-up food stand at an event creates a sense of ‘grab it while you can’ urgency, a bit of a buzz. It also offers organisers the chance to bring live cooking onto the event floor, rolling an element of theatre into proceedings. We think 2024 will see an influx of innovative pop-ups, from artisanal doughnut stands and build-your-own pancake shacks to ‘pick-‘n’-mix’ tapas street food stations and Bento box bars.

‘Pop-up street food is the vibe for 2024,’ says Culleton. ‘It’s fun, interactive and the concept couldn’t fit better with our quirky venues – it just hits the spot! our Pasta bars and Thai bars are already a staple at many of our events.’

Happy Hour

Fun, frivolous, fragrant – what’s not to love about a cocktail? Welcome drinks at any event are the perfect way to get creative without blowing the budget. Crafting a delicious, showy drink doesn’t need to cost the earth, you just need to inject a little bit of imagination.

The Merlin Venues team loves helping its clients come up with show-stopping cocktail recipes. They’re particularly good at non-alcoholic ones, something we expect to see in increased demand this year.

‘Mocktails are taking centre stage in 2024,’ says Culleton. ‘With a demand for healthier options on the rise, our delicious Rosemary Peach Lemonade is going to be featuring heavily on drinks menus this year.’

Your 2024 event at Merlin Venues

If you want to plan an unforgettable event this year, you can trust our team to provide catering options that will wow your guests. Host your event in some of London’s most iconic spaces, our portfolio of venues includes SEA LIFE London Aquarium, London Dungeon and Madame Tussauds.

To discuss ideas, dates and catering requirements, give the team a call on 020 7487 0224 or email us on Or, if you’re really keen to hire a Merlin Venue for your next event – fill out the form below now and let’s start planning a magical event together.


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