No One Wants to Being Singled out for Having an Imperfect Dietary Need

It wasn’t long ago that imperfect fruits and vegetables were not welcome on a dinner plate, let alone a grocery cart. Singled out for being twisted, blemished, mutated, bumpy, scuffed, or too small. They did not live up to strict beauty standards. Nowadays, these ugly vegetables are being rescued and used in menus of all kinds.

The same could be said of attendees and employees with dietary needs. They are often thought of as being askew, strange, different, or deviant. They can’t eat from the standard banquet menu, so they are deemed “special” and are tossed aside for being “restricted.”

We’ll gladly create a donut wall with all kinds of wonky flavors and foods on them (oh that one has bacon on it!), salads served in ice cream cones (gasp!), or gazpacho served on fresh-cut rose buds floating in a pool.

Yet, when someone shares they have dietary needs, we expect them to look, but not taste. We don’t allow them to participate in the food experience because they do not fit what we’re offering.

Rejecting their needs can be costly: for employers looking to create diverse and equitable cultures, for associations whose members don’t feel appreciated, for planners seeing food and budget going to waste, and for caterers whose revenue could flourish. It all adds up.

Food and beverage are huge components of our lives. What and how we eat may vary based on where we’re from, what we believe in, and what our bodies tell us. Dietary needs aren’t flaws, unsavory, or disgusting. They are necessary, deserve respect, and promise opportunity.

Don’t get frustrated by having to serve “special” meals. Use the wonky, strange, imperfect, and different to design menus that embrace the needs and become even more unique and delicious than anticipated. If a chef incorporates them into the overall menu, most would never know the difference.

In the end, we all must eat. And, we would like to eat together.

Feeding employees. A diverse group of people standing around talking and eating. A long table with a white linen is at the bottom of the image. There are a lot of diverse food dishes there as a buffet.Do you struggle managing employee and attendee dietary needs at company events or industry conferences?
You are not alone!

Every Meal Matters is THE ONLY course designed to increase help you manage all of their diverse dietary needs without going crazy. Whether vegan, gluten-free, food allergies or kosher, you will learn how to not only feed everyone safely and deliciously but how to use their needs to feed engagement, nourish inclusion and maximize the budget by addressing dietary needs and managing waste.

Find out more and register for the online, interactive course that starts January 9, 2023.