Benchmark has released its list of top dining trends for 2020 as observed by executive chefs and culinary experts at the global hospitality company’s 80 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants, including Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in Colorado Springs and Tivoli Lodge in Vail as well as the very recent addition of Manor Vail Lodge.

No. 1 Cannabidiol (CBD)

Coffee shops and restaurants in many American cities now have an array of CBD oil-infused menu offerings that are aimed at attracting customers interested in trying new eco-friendly, plant-based ingredients. CBD is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis and is known to reduce pain, stress and anxiety. CBD-infused drinks are also quickly gaining momentum.

No. 2 Plant Ecosystem

Some individuals are making a dietary switch into the plant-based ecosystem and seeking plant-based food alternatives meat and dairy. The art of cooking and food invention are recreating meat and dairy flavors from non-meat and non-dairy products like soy, peas, cashews and almonds.

No. 3 Healthy Snacks

There are new products on the snack food market providing healthier alternatives to chips, with ingredients like chickpeas, beets, quinoa and kale.

No. 4 Jackfruit

The newest go-to meat substitute is jackfruit. Already being used as an alternative for barbecue pulled pork, jackfruit is a southeast Asian fruit that is a great source of iron, calcium and B vitamins.

No. 5 Fruit Forward

Unique fruit flavors, such as cactus, are taking mixology by storm … more specifically, spiny cactus fruits such as prickly pear and dragon fruit. Consumers also are exploring unique fruit flavor varieties, including bergamot orange, yuzu, calamansi, citron, makrut lime, pomelo, Meyer lemon, blood orange and ugli fruit.

No. 6 Oat Milk

Oat milk has emerged as the golden child of alternative milks. It’s terrific in coffees, and companies are launching other oat milk products as alternatives to dairy.

No. 7 Sparkling Water

Sparkling water demand continues to be driven by consumers who are concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy cravings for carbonation. Consider offering sparkling water beverages that feature unique flavors and low alcohol (or no alcohol).

No. 8 Bright & Bold

In terms of flavors and colors, consumers are looking for bright, bold, appealing hues. Color generates emotional appeal with food, and it may be as important as taste.

No. 9 Traceability

Consumers are demanding sustainability in all forms. Whether it’s swapping out Styrofoam and plastic for paper or bamboo or buying ingredients from local sustainable sources, sustainability is a big focus.

No. 10 Ugly Produce

Consumers are finally accepting misshapen, bruised and ugly foods as totally edible. How can hotels and restaurants follow suit?

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.

 

Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth is one of six recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 America’s Classics Award, which is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Per the foundation, “Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, a chicken dinner behemoth positioned between Detroit and Michigan’s summer lake destination, is decidedly on the beaten path. William Zehnder Sr. and his wife, Emilie, bought a former hotel in 1928.

 

In early April Detroit’s TCF Center became a 1,000-bed alternate care site to help ease the burden on local hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. The 723,000-square-foot facility became the TCF Regional Care Center. According to Pure Michigan’s Michelle Grinnell, who serves as public information officer for the state’s alternate care sites, 39 patients were treated at TCF, the last of whom was discharged on May 7.