Holiday Trends in Catering

That most wonderful time of the year is here once again. There is no downtime at the holidays in the catering world with corporate and personal celebrations in high demand. While this season is best characterized by tradition, each year brings its own twists on a theme. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the hottest holiday trends to watch for this year in the catering world.


Totally fitting for the holidays, one of the dominating catering trends this season is incorporating nostalgia or a fondness for the past. Clients are seeking comfort in their childhood favorites, specifically those associated with the 80s and 90s. How these will manifest in catering has yet to be fully seen, but many are predicting the comeback of quiche appetizers and pasta salad, with neon signage and bold insignias to represent the 80s.

And go ahead and wear that scrunchie proudly (wrist or hair – you choose), pull out your Skechers and dust off your favorite choker in honor of the ‘90s. Custom sliders stationed and served with individual salads in creative containers are authentic to the era. These were also the decades of Asian Fusion and almost comically tiny portions of haute cuisine, so let your imagination drift backwards in time a bit as you plan to give your clients a taste of their generational home for the holidays.

Cocktail Fun

For years now, signature cocktails have been the preferred avenue for personalizing bar services at personal events. Now we’re seeing a shift away from them as clients instead incorporate fun elements like rock candy into their cocktail presentations. A champagne toast to ring in the New Year would be a great opportunity to feature colorful, playful add-ins. Pour bubbly over puffs of cotton candy, tiny scoops of sherbet or bright skewers of fruit before serving, or serve the throwback favorite - playful pink champagne.

Global Consciousness

Even at the holidays, hosts have grown incredibly conscious of the source of their food. The emphasis is on organic ingredients grown locally using sustainable farming practices. And this generation of consumer is incredibly specific – you cannot provide too much information. They want to know the name of the farmer, location of the farm, which fertilizers were used, how their meat and dairy were processed, and how the animals were treated as they were raised.

You can expect other global trends to spill over into holiday catering, as well. More and more clients are requesting alternatives to plastic straws and stirrers. Manufacturers are getting creative in the face of worldwide restrictions on single-use and plastic products, so there are many new options available to caterers for the holidays. Festive paper straws, for example, in a variety of colors are a biodegradable replacement for plastic that look awesome on display.

Expect some scrutiny by clients as they look for more than a passing effort at eco-friendly business practices. Caterers can seize on this opportunity by touting responsible options such as paperless invoicing, recycled paper products and locally-sourced ingredients as part of their holiday marketing campaigns.

We hope you are looking forward to what promises to be an interesting holiday season this year, with trends that reflect the need to find comfort in the past, celebrate the present and accept social responsibility for the future.

Have questions about how SB Value can help with affordable food and supply options? Email me at

-Clint Elkins, VP of Sales