The World’s first vegan football club Forest Green Rovers have been awarded Menu of the Year and praised for their innovative approach to sustainability.
The Sport and Leisure Catering Magazine Awards, held at BAFTA in London, saw the Cotswolds’ club take the acclaim, thanks to their matchday kitchen which is led by Nicolas Allan and head chef Em Franklin.
Grosvenor Casinos and the Tower of London were also up for the award, with other winners from the night including Lord’s Cricket Ground, Cheltenham Racecourse, the Eden Project and the RAF Museum in London.
Dale Vince, chairman of Forest Green Rovers, said: “Football and great food aren’t two things normally associated with each other – but this is Stroud… When we gave Star Anise the challenge to take FGR vegan we expected great things, because that’s what they do – but never thought we’d be winning awards.
“The best part of winning this national award is not that we’re a football club, special as that is – but that we did it with vegan food. Food that is sustainable in all senses of the word.”
Joe Bill, Group Editor at Sports & Leisure Catering Magazine, said: “The work that Forest Green Rovers have done in the last couple of years to make the club sustainable has been well documented in the national press.
“When we heard that the club had gone all-vegan at the end of last year, we thought it was a real innovative move. It both addresses the issues that are arising in association with modern foodservice, while also taking a stance and demonstrating to the leisure industries how it can be combatted.
“With catering partners Quorn, the menu items now available to general admission fans and to corporate hospitality guests are unlike at any other football club.”
The menu at Forest Green Rovers includes the specially produced Q-Pie, created with ingredients supplied by Quorn, as well as veggie burgers, Mexican fajitas, sweet potato burgers, chips, pizza and weekly specials. Even the beer and cider on sale at FGR on matchdays is completely vegan, with the Cotswold Brewing Company offering popular vegan lager and cider from the bars at The New Lawn.
The vegan menu is the latest in a long line of sustainability measures at the club, which include the installation of solar panels, an organic pitch, and a solar powered robot lawnmower.