In the modern world,
food plays a huge role. We like to eat it, we like to make it, we like to talk
about it, and we even like to watch other people cooking it. A momentous
occasion is often celebrated with a meal or a cake and even in the meeting and
events industry, top quality catering is promoted as a selling point for a
venue, with extra biscuits or a bacon sandwich referred to as ‘added value’.
This relationship with
food differs significantly with historic man’s quest for fuel in a fight or
flight environment. Yes, we still need food for energy but we have developed an
emotional and social attachment, far deeper than just the relief of a satiated
We know food has a
physical effect on the body: someone who has not eaten in a while will develop
hunger pangs, may feel weaker and experience dizziness. Similarly, someone who
has eaten a burger with little nutritional value may feel sluggish or sleepy.
But how significant is food and the choices we make to our mind?
Food has a
surprisingly prevalent effect on our thought processes. Just think about the
differences between when you are hungry and when you are not. If you look at a
sandwich when you are full, you will probably think very differently about it
compared to when you are incredibly hungry. Sometimes the thought will be all
consuming, having a detrimental effect on concentration.
In the events
industry, concentration is key. If your delegates have not provided their brain
with adequate fuel, the brain is going to work against them – the focus will be
food and not work. Eggs, fish, berries, nuts, avocados and dark chocolate are
some of the many ingredients proven to have a positive effect on concentration
but not only that, they are healthy and
It is up to organisers
and caterers to recognise this in order to provide options that will be
beneficial for delegates, boosting brain power and making a more productive
A workshop on ’The Psychology of Food in Conferences and Events’ will be held at Clic+ on 7 November, a new tradeshow at Robinson College.
Any comments? Email: Zoe Vernor