Forest Green Rovers (FGR) has officially become the world’s first vegan football club, after its plant-based menu was awarded the Vegan Trademark.
The Gloucestershire club received the Trademark from The Vegan Society just days after winning promotion to the Football League for the first time in its 128 year history with a 3-1 win over Tranmere Rovers at Wembley on Sunday.
FGR removed all meat and dairy products from its matchday menu back in 2015, so rather than the traditional football food of meat pies and chips, the menu features veggie burgers, fajitas, and the Q-Pie, a vegan pie created with Quorn ingredients; even the beer and cider on sale at FGR is vegan.
Dale Vince, Forest Green Rovers chairman, said: “Living on a diet of plants, instead of animals, is one of the most important changes anybody can make.
“It’s not just for the sake of the environment, the health benefits, or to reduce animal suffering – but from performance perspective, as we’re showing with FGR.
“Plant based diets are increasingly the choice of elite athletes the world over, and soon we hope, sports fans too.”
According to The Vegan Society, there are now well over 500,000 vegans in Britain – a 360% increase in the last decade.
Vegan food has subsequently seen a sharp rise, with a 1,500% increase in sales in just one year – and earlier this year, Asda became the first supermarket to carry the Vegan Trademark on its products.
George Gill, chief executive at The Vegan Society, said: “We are very pleased to register Forest Green Rovers’ fantastic vegan dishes with our Vegan Trademark, which will show many football fans how delicious plant-based food is.
“The team are a prime example of how ethics and concern for the environment can go along with looking after your health and playing sports.
“More and more sportspeople are eating a vegan diet because of its health benefits and finding that it improves their athletic performance.”
Launched in 1990, the internationally recognised Vegan Trademark is the world’s oldest vegan label – it enjoys a year-on-year increase in the number of applications, with currently 24,000 vegan products registered across the world.
Over 800 companies have registered their products with The Vegan Society – which created the word vegan back in 1944.
The vegan menu at FGR 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.