Forest Green unveils eco-food for fans
Forest Green Rovers has launched Britain’s first meat-free and environmentally sustainable menu for football fans.
Offering locally sourced, predominantly vegetarian, eco-friendly food is part of Rovers strategy to create Britain’s most sustainable football club – but the changes are also about health and taste.
FGR Chairman Dale Vince said: “Food is really important for our bodies’ performance but is generally overlooked by people – even in the world of professional football.
“Forest Green Rovers began this journey 12 months ago by changing what we fed the players but it’s just as important to us what we fed our fans. Even in the Premier League fans are not well fed.
“When you take meat out of a diet, people think that restricts choice but it actually opens up a world of different food for people to try.
“But we are not just doing this to provide tasty food. It takes ten times more energy to feed a meat-eater than it takes to feed a vegetarian. So Rovers is becoming the first ever sports club to offer all fans, players and staff an accredited sustainable menu.
“Forest Green Rovers want to lead the way both on and off the field. Football fans are a large and passionate audience, and first and foremost we want to win for our fans but we also want to win over fans to the idea of greater sustainability in sport and in life.”
The Gloucestershire club is working with the Soil Association to achieve its “Food for Life” Catering Mark. This gold standard means 30% of the food served must be organic and 50% local sourced.
Greasy sausage rolls and soggy pies are out, replaced with veggie alternatives by Cirencester caterers Relish, including:
- rainbow kobez wrap, with pumpkin hummus, grated beets and grated carrot;
- polenta chips with chilli and thyme;
- steak mushroom, swede, leek & real ale in short crust pie
Vince continued: “The new menu has gone down well with fans at the tasting sessions we’ve held – although it’s not everybody’s cup of Bovril. But since we took meat off the menu, I’ve had people come up to me and say that they’ve switched to a meat-free diet away from football as well.”
Ultimately Forest Green is becoming a test-bed for the Sustainability in Sport foundation, established by Vince and former-Manchester United player Gary Neville in May this year – with the mission of ‘Greening up sport’.
Facts about meat:
- The average person in the UK eats 25-50% more meat than World Health Guidelines recommend
- According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, meat is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than transport at 13 per cent
- Livestock production uses 8 per cent of the world's fresh water
- Sixty billion animals are farmed for food worldwide every year – the vast majority of them reared intensively in systems that seriously impact on their welfare