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Prepared But Not Served – A Guest Blog by Jim Spellos

There is growing attention being paid to food waste, which is wonderful. I’ll be speaking at IMEX next week and while you can catch me at a few sessions, Wasting Away will be a session on food waste and our bottom line on October 18th. As a prompt to help us celebrate the no waste movement, let’s all take part in World Food Day this Sunday, October 16th. You can read a general article I’ve written on why the day exists and how we can integrate more awareness into our daily lives. Below is a beautiful guest post by James Spellos.…

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World Food Day – Take Action & End World Hunger

World Food Day is this Sunday, October 16th and it’s not just about food. It’s also not just about recognizing that hunger exists. It’s about taking action against hunger. And there’s so much you can do. This isn’t just another hashtag. World Food Day has been observed around the world by millions of people since 1979. The idea is that every human being has a right to nutritional food that will sustain them. Not food that will keep them alive, but adequate food to be able to live with vitality, meaning each person has a right to enough food to…

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An Open Letter to the Meetings Industry

Meetings Industry – An Open Letter on Inclusion

Dear Meetings Industry, In June 2016, I attended Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World Education Congress. As usual, the international conference was well attended and a wonderful gathering of top industry professionals. We studied food and beverage topics, budgeting, international trends, hybrid and virtual meetings and more. Added to this year’s event was a celebration of inclusion … mostly. Unfortunately, the convention occurred on the heels of the tragic LGBT nightclub shooting in Florida, where 49 people were killed, over 50 were injured, and over 200 were held hostage until the gunman’s death, when police stormed the club around 2 a.m.…

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5 Life-Saving, No-Cost Tips: How to Have Accessible Events

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act can feel like a daunting task for meeting planners on a tight budget--and an even greater challenge ever since “eating” was included as a “major life activity” in the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. This article highlights relatively easy, inexpensive ways to make your meeting accommodating for attendees with disabilities. I recommend bookmarking it for future events. Along those lines, I thought I’d share a handful of low- or no-cost ways to accommodate attendees with special dietary needs. Plan meals well in advance. If you can give the catering kitchen an accurate picture…

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How to Buy: 19 Food Labels You Need to Understand

Food labeling has become an extremely big concern for consumers. In fact, an increasing number of consumers have been losing faith in food labels because of incorrect labeling and misleading terms. In particular, labels such as, organic, healthy, and natural are not always understood and can mean different things to different people, which can greatly impact the price of many foods. Many consumers confuse the term natural with a non-GMO product or an organic label with a product that is grown sustainably. Here are 19 of the top terms you might find on product packaging today so you can truly…

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The Real Difference Between Dietary Choices & Dietary Needs

As the controversy and, let’s face it, confusion, rages on around the world here’s an easy primer on the why’s and woes of dietary choices and dietary needs. Let’s begin with an actual disease, Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease isn’t an allergy to gluten as many people often mistake. It is an actual autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) causes damage to the small intestine. An estimated 1 in every 100 people has celiac, worldwide and most are undiagnosed. Because this is an actual autoimmune disorder, a diagnosis will ensure opportunity for…

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Planning for LGBT Guests – Based on What I Know About Planning for Guests With Special Dietary Needs

I have seen a tremendous amount of social-media backlash against “religious freedom” laws in North Carolina (HB2) and Mississippi (HB1523), both of which allow businesses and nonprofits to discriminate against LGBT people in accordance with their religious beliefs. More than 100 major corporations (Google, Apple, Bank of America, and other powerhouses) oppose the North Carolina ordinance. Pepsi, Choice Hotels and Hyatt have publicly opposed the Mississippi law. And, of course, meetings are pulling out in droves. But organizations that cannot afford to cancel at the last minute have no choice but to meet in these states. Planning for LGBT attendees is similar to…

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Brazil Eventos & Transparency

As an international speaker and Food & Beverage expert, I’ve found at least one universal truth – allergies are present in all countries and, therefore, a place must be set at the table for attendee safety and trust. I speak on a number of topics when I travel, including legislation and legality of meetings, efficient food and beverage budgeting, custom eater menu planning, and more. Next week I’ll be in Brazil discussing important food trends from around the world and how to seamlessly incorporate these exciting trends into your meetings and events for an experience your attendees will devour. I’ve…

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Are you Alienating 38% of Your Guests?

As many as 38% of people worldwide, self-identify as having a food allergy or intolerance. Whether running a catered corporate meeting, a dining experience out on-the-town for visiting colleagues, or a large conference at a hotel, a lack of trust in the food reflects poorly on everyone and can end up alienating guests. From the event host, to the servers, to the dining venue, lack of trust bleeds into the entire event experience. Food safety is important because it saves lives, but consumer confidence is a critically important goal in it’s own right. From a public health perspective, consumers need…

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Valentine’s Day Reminders for Sweet Success

Valentine’s is right around the corner and while loved ones are fervently planning the perfect evening, you are assembling the team that will make it happen. But are food allergies and dietary restrictions being planned into your event? Here are just a few reminders to help make the evening a sweet success. Allergens Let’s face it, anaphylaxis isn’t sexy. Keeping an epinephrine auto-injector may or may not be an option in your state. It’s a life saving tool, so if it is available add it to your emergency kit along with at least one staff member trained in how to…

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