Invasiveness as the next food trend for hotels

The English language loves its neologisms. (Don’t look this one up in your dictionary. It’s not there…yet.) The one in the title adds an “ism” to “invasive” where the latter word is assigned to species that have been accidentally or intentionally introduced into an alien environment where there are no natural predators to control their numbers, thus decreasing biodiversity. Early examples are the African cane toads that ravaged the Australian continent and the zebra mussels that also became endemic to the Great Lakes.

For you, it’s important for hoteliers to keep an eye out for these types of trends because, in the relentless progression of global climate change, guests will continue to demand more of their travel brands to foster a culture of sustainability. Right now, environmentalism is largely an added value to make customers feel good about their hotel selections (with the option of commanding a few extra dollars in rate for the privilege). However, there may soon come a time when sustainability is rated and companies that do not score high are rejected by potential customers.

Invasiveness for hotel restaurants means putting these foods on the menu as a way to:

  1. Help build an economic system around the breeding and consumption of invasives
  2. Reduce the stigma attached to the consumption of these species by transforming them into tasty dishes
  3. Raise awareness of the need to remove invaders to rebalance native species
  4. Offer a point of differentiation to help with the marketing and public relations of your F&B program
  5. Complete a brand-wide sustainability initiative that incorporates many departments

As you can already see, the first of these five isn’t easy right now because the supply chains just aren’t there. This will change. Think back to about two decades ago when the phrase “authentically local” started gaining momentum. At the time, stocking inventory with local vendors required a great deal of effort as each relationship had to be established individually and we simply did not yet have the critical mass of adaptable manufacturers to profitably engage in live productions. small batches.

Now, living local, buying local, and eating local are anything but hotel expectations, even though they still require a heavy load of setup and care. We expect invasiveness to follow a similar trajectory as hotels have taken advantage of their larger supply networks to capitalize on this trend.

The personal request for climate action often begins with an awareness campaign for “charismatic megafauna”, such as a reminder of how few pandas remain, a report on the recent extinction of the northern white rhino or a video of an emaciated polar bear struggling to find firm footing on a patchwork of half-melted blocks of ice. Likewise, invasiveness will begin with a surge in access and edible acceptance of one of the greatest provocateurs. Our bet is on all four types of invasive Asian carp in the Mississippi river system – gooey and hard to debone, but still a suitable substitute for salmon or tuna when chopped and in sauce.

Not just a green alternative to soy, invasiveness also applies to haute cuisine. People are opting for sophisticated dining experiences not only to achieve satiety, but also to be inspired by the chef’s wild and esoteric ingredient combinations, as well as to have something to chat with friends at the next dinner date. This last reason can just as easily be called bragging rights, so give your restaurants something to brag about.

In conclusion, to merge the haute cuisine element with those of outreach and education, you are approaching an experience that can be described as “transformative” – leaving the guest better off than when they arrived at your hotel. By promoting the ingestion of foods that are not indigenous to a land – in stark contrast to local food and the direct opposite of indigenous food – you get your customers to reframe the environmental conversation and get them to feel good about the process for their active contribution.

If you weave enough of these sustainability-related experiences into your brand—of which invasiveness is a possible inclusion—your guests will love you for it and be willing to pay above market for the opportunity to stay with you.

Larry Mogelonski
Mogel Consulting Limited Hotel

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