The ‘Trends Top Ten’ in light equipment and tableware

The ‘Trends Top Ten’ in light equipment and tableware
What’s hot at the FEA’s 2024 LET Forum

FEA’s Light Equipment and Tableware Forum is the setting for suppliers to bring their latest products and ideas to show to their customers.  It’s also the place to discover the latest trends in this fast-moving sector, where innovation is the driving force as foodservice operators seek that elusive point of difference, on the table and in the kitchen. 

Here are the 2024 LET Forum’s top ten trends:

Colour: white is taking a back seat, but as we all know it’s a cyclic thing.  Meanwhile, colour is everywhere FOH – from cutlery to buffet displays, from server ware to glassware.   (But come 2025 white may be back!)

Sustainability: just about every exhibitor was showing products designed to save energy or reduce waste.  Reusable labels for plastic containers, induction hobs, hot air chafers, portioners, cutlery with recycled plastic handles, multiple alternatives to single use plastic.  And it’s not just the products: companies are investing in sustainable and recyclable packaging and looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their distribution systems, too. 

Matt: gloss may be more practical, but matt is absolutely bang on trend, especially when it comes to tableware.  It’s everywhere and everyone seems to love it…. for now….

Stonewash: we all thought it would be a brief fad, but it’s becoming a long term trend.  Cutlery with a stonewash finish (there’s that matt again!) is set to stay, at least for a while.  It comes in all sorts of colours, such as black, copper, stainless steel, champagne, etc..  Alongside stonewash there’s sandblasting for a slightly different matt effect (generally smoother and lighter), while brushed cutlery gives a satin-like finish.  They all look cool, but there’s a practical element to this trend, too, which may explain its longevity: the finish doesn’t show scratches, so it lasts longer, which saves money, and it doesn’t show fingerprints, so there’s no need to polish it, which saves staff time – and that’s a big plus at a time of staff shortages. 

Allergens: the hospitality industry is still coming to grips with the issue of allergens, and lots of companies are developing products to assist in this important work.  Purple is the colour, and there was a huge range of utensils, storage systems, boards and suchlike on show at the Forum. 

Melamine: the unstoppable rise…...  You might think that it’s only a matter of time before melamine tableware gets accepted in even top class restaurants, but you’d only be half-right, as it already is.  Maybe not generally, but at least one exhibitor had a special piece of server ware, made of melamine, that had been developed for a top chef.  In the USA it’s already big in the upscale and casual dining sectors, so it’s probably a matter of time till it becomes more accepted here.  Meanwhile there was a huge range of different melamine products on display, including quite a few with a matt finish! 

Cost cutting: in today’s economic climate, it’s no surprise that operators are looking more keenly than ever at prices.  It means the search for that elusive point of difference is relying more and more on buying clever.  Suppliers are well aware of the issue and are trying to find lower cost solutions to the conundrum.  Sadly shipping and transport costs are rising, so it’s likely that product prices will rise again towards the end of the year.  

Retro: there’s always a touch of retro in the air and the 2024 Forum’s take on it had a distinct whiff of the 70s about it… specifically sizzle ‘n cheese.  Sizzle platters, fondu sets and raclette are all reported to be making comebacks.  It’s table theatre to enhance the dining experience and grab that elusive point of difference. 

Equipment that does the job: this is all about saving staff time by finding kitchen gadgets that can either do the job by themselves, or at least help staff do it more quickly.  For example, as ice cream and gelato become more popular, machines that make them automatically are on the rise.  Fill them up, turn them on and let them do their job while you go off and get on with other tasks.  

Sharing: Covid may have briefly halted the trend for sharing platters, but it’s back with a bang now.  It’s not just about the social thing, there’s also the fact that consumers want to try new foods and, by sharing it, they spread the risk – if they don’t like a dish, hopefully their friends will! 


Are you looking for a particular foodservice equipment product or service?

FEA members operate across all of the product categories below:

  • Beverage
  • Cooking
  • Dealer / Wholesaler
  • Food Waste
  • Light Equipment and Food Preparation
  • Refrigeration
  • Servicing
  • Software
  • UK Fabrication and Manufacturing
  • Ventilation and Fire Suppression
  • Warewashing

You can search all FEA member products and services using our Meet Our Members filter. Simply filter by 'Product Type'.

You might also be interested in:

Social Media

  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
  • Like our Facebook business page

    FEA members monthly newsletter

    Sign-up for our free monthly newsletter and you’ll be kept up-to-date on industry news, FEA offers and events. It will keep you informed and you might see something that whets your appetite.