Meeting Mentor Magazine

March 2024

Wellness Is in the Spotlight

With May 13 to 19 being Food Allergy Awareness Week, and with the recent release of the Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF’s) latest findings around healthy meetings, wellness is taking center stage. In fact, the IRF found that the largest growth in its 2018 trends survey was around the inclusion of wellness/well-being components in events.

These additions took many forms, including the expectation of more fitness activities at events, workout tours in host cities, apps like RunGo, and attendees creating an array of Instagrammable life experiences that showcase their investment in physical well-being. The survey saw more events incorporating on-site stress-reduction practices, such as tai chi or meridian tapping. Another trend is the Danish concept of hygge, or cozy comfort, translating to comfortable seating and warm, friendly environments.

On the F&B side, the survey reported a trend of wellness-focused cocktails derived from modern and ancient medicinal recipes. Also, hotels continue to expand their organic and gluten-free options. Snack breaks, for example, are less volume-focused (mountains of cookies) and more quality-focused (three options of locally sourced, organic products).

Never have meeting planners and hotel catering directors faced as many and varied food allergies and dietary restrictions among meeting attendees. As part of Food Allergy Awareness Week, the organization Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is out to dispel critical food allergy myths and misconceptions. Following are three of the most common:

1. Myth: Food allergies are the same as food intolerances.
Fact: Unlike food intolerances, food allergies are “IgE-mediated.” This means that the immune system produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE for short) when it detects a food allergen. IgE antibodies fight the “enemy” food by releasing histamine and other chemicals.

2. Myth: Peanut is the most dangerous food allergy.
Fact: No single food allergy poses a greater threat than another. While only eight foods (milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish) account for the vast majority of all food allergies, virtually any food can cause an allergic reaction.

3. Misconception: If a food doesn’t traditionally contain an allergen, or you don’t see the allergen listed in a dish’s menu description, that food is safe to eat.
Fact: Allergens can appear in unexpected places. For example, fish or shellfish are sometimes dipped in milk to reduce their fishy odor, posing a problem for people with milk allergy. Never assume anything.

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ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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