When you're planning an event, just as important as who is speaking is the question - What is everyone eating? In today's complicated world more and more people have special diets due to the growing number of food allergies. A savvy event professional knows what most people tend to be allergic to and are ready to accommodate common special diets. Want a quick look at the must-knows of feeding the masses in 2016?

Eight Top Food Allergens

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, more than 160 foods can cause allergic reactions in people. The most common allergenic foods are:

Milk            Shellfish

Tree Nuts    Wheat

Eggs           Fish

Peanuts      Soybeans

Common Special Diets

Gluten-Free: Free of gluten-containing cereals, wheat, barley, rye and triticale. This includes gluten-based flavoring, stabilizing and thickening agents.

Vegetarian: Food derived from plants, with or without eggs, dairy products and/or honey.

Lacto-Vegetarian: Allows plant foods and milk products but excludes eggs; common among followers of Hinduism and Jainism.

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: Eats plant food plus eggs and milk products.

Pescetarian: Similar to vegetarian but includes fish.

Vegan: Excludes eating any animal products (flesh, eggs, dairy, honey).

Fruitarian: Similar to vegan but only eats foods that don’t kill the plant (e.g, apples but not carrots).

Kosher: Food made according to a complex set of Jewish dietary laws.

Halal: Food permissible and prepared according to Islamic law.

Now that you know a little more about special diets and common allergens, maybe its time to think for a bit about what else you might not know. Do yourself a favor and start working now with the professionals. A staff member from a convention and visitors bureau knows everything it takes to take your meeting from good to great. Learn more about how the Greater Lansing CVB can help you today!