How important is a great culinary experience to the average traveler when picking a vacation spot?
According to Destination Analysts’ quarterly report, “The State of the American Traveler,” millennials lead the pack in foodie obsessed travel. More than half (50.7%) of millennials will not visit a destination that lacks good restaurants, and 62% said that unique, special or interesting culinary travel experiences are “very important” to them, expressing more interest than either Generation X or baby boomers in those categories.
But millennials are not the only ones. A full 95% of travelers said they engage in a unique and memorable food or beverage experience while traveling, according to the World Food Travel Association’s 2016 Food Travel Monitor.
Food is at the forefront of the traveler experience, and that experience is changing along with guests’ new culinary demands. As travelers become savvier about the foods they consume, they are placing greater emphasis on clean and healthy eating at home and while they travel. The use of fresh locally sourced ingredients has become a requirement, along with increased demand for healthy options for travelers who have dietary restrictions.
In 2018, gluten-free and vegetarian dietary requirements have become much more mainstream. According to an article in Forbes, the number of Americans following a no-gluten diet tripled between 2009 and 2014, according to a 2016 study headed by the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. So it comes as no surprise that there are a growing number of travelers looking for gluten-free options when they are on the road, in addition to special dietary needs and requirements. Those preferences range from vegan or vegetarian diets to religion-based diets such as kosher or halal to special medical diets or those who need to avoid certain foods because of allergies.
Catering to these new dietary needs and making sure they are properly handled requires a lot of work and enforcement by the restaurateur and the hotel owner. It is not enough anymore to have one option for vegetarians at the bottom of the menu. Instead it is recommended that hotels create a customized menu for guests with dietary restrictions. It is also important to go over your new dishes, their flavors, and also what allergens are in them with your F&B staff.
Below is some healthy, anti-gluten, allergen free foods that can be add something fresh to your menu and keep you picky eaters happy: