Friday, January 28, 2011

Food for Thought: A Conference Center’s Corporate Social Responsibility

Most conference attendees and meeting goers may not recognize healthy food options as part of a company’s corporate social responsibility. Hospitality leaders such as The National Conference Center participate in “Food for Thought,” a program in which meal and snack options are given a hard consideration before serving. Similar to starting your day with a balanced breakfast, certain foods are believed to help your brain absorb the most information – making the most productive meeting possible.


What are Food for Thought items?

• Fruits, vegetables, and snacks that are known for increasing blood flow, cognitive memory, and alertness – also known as a healthy afternoon boost and a meeting planner’s dream.

How is Food for Thought done?

• By sourcing the best products from local vendors, conference centers can ensure they’re receiving foods with the most nutritional value.

• Once you receive the product, it’s about how you treat the product, if you’re taking care of it, and how you’re storing it.

• If the item requires further preparation, cooking for shorter periods of time allows the vegetable or fruit to maintain the most nutrients possible.

What results do guests see?

• Prior to the program, guests felt afternoon fatigue and sleepy during their meetings. Now with food for thought, guests maintain a mid to high energy level based on the lunch meals and break station snack options.

To learn more about food for thought, The National Conference Center’s Executive Chef Craig Mason shares food for thought tips, recipes, and more on the Conference Center Blog.

Written By:
Sarah Vining
Marketing Assistant
The National Conference Center


  1. Who should be responsible for quality of food. Is it the host venue(hotel for example) or is it the organizer of the event?

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  2. To me, I think the venue should set the tone for the quality of the food. The venue and chefs can develop contacts with local distributors; something meeting planners will not be able to do at a location-level. By providing healthy options that are in season, local, sustainable, etc., the sales team at the venue should then sell those standards to meeting planners.

    In my experience, meeting planners (particularly those that did not put food quality at the top of their list of priorities) will make comments on the quality of the food and how it benefitted their meeting participants.

    Anyone else have other thoughts?

  3. Joseph, the quality of food is a responsibility that lays in the hands of the conference centers. Culinary teams, sales managers, general managers, etc., everyone must be on the same page.
    The tips Sarah has outlined will create a better experience for the attendees. It is important that the conference center explains why this is true.
    We must change our menus. My guess is that people will regress to unhealthy food options if the price is lower and it is on the menu.

  4. This is a breakthrough. Indeed participants of a certain seminar or convention tends to be sleepy especially in the afternoon session. Foods that stimulate brains will be a big help for them to stay focused.

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