Forest Green Rovers fires up Devil’s Kitchen

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Dale Vince, the green entrepreneur behind Ecotricity – the world’s first green energy company and pioneering vegan football club Forest Green Rovers, has launched his latest business, a vegan food company that seeks to disrupt the 1bn + meals a year UK school dinners market.

Devil’s Kitchen will use experience gained from catering to football fans at Forest Green Rovers – recently named “the world’s greenest football club” by footballing world body, FIFA and “the de-facto standard for sustainability in sport” by the United Nations.

Devil’s Kitchen is a new purpose-built facility close to the Forest Green Rovers ground in Gloucestershire and the Little Green Devils range will specifically target schools and colleges across the UK.

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The range of vegetable balls and burgers are 100% plant-based, made with legumes, fruits, herbs and spices, and will also be free of the 14 major food allergens (such as nuts, seeds, gluten and soya) making them accessible to everybody. The range is also free from palm oil, MSG and all artificial ingredients.

The new factory can produce around 125,000 items every week – with the first order of 50,000 burgers being delivered to a London council later this month.

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Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, and chairman of Forest Green Rovers, said: “Our products are simple – just great food made from vegetables for kids – a really good thing. We’ve had an incredible response so far, so we hope to get the Little Green Devils range into as many schools and colleges as possible.

“Before production has begun we’ve received unexpected interest from university caterers and public attractions who want to take our products. I reckon we’ll complete the full circle and sell our burgers to other football clubs and other sporting venues too – who want to offer vegan food like Forest Green Rovers.”

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Little Green Devils is the first savoury vegan product in Britain to be made specifically for the school market – and the company has already received significant interest in products from caterers and wholesalers who between them serve meals in around 8,000 UK schools.

The products have been road tested with some of the largest school caterers in the UK to ensure they stand up to the demands of being the central protein source in a school dinner.

The Devil’s Kitchen factory is powered by Ecotricity’s 100% green energy and the packaging for its products are fully sustainable – made with a cardboard outer, with a compostable liner and label.

The factory launches just a little over a year after the first speculative email from Barry Jordan to Dale Vince. Now general manager, Barry – a food industry specialist with 15 years of experience in sales, marketing and product innovation – is leading the project.

Forest Green Rovers became the world’s first vegan football club in 2016, after receiving accreditation from the Vegan Society. It went meat free in 2015.

The football club already runs Fit2Last sessions – a fun and interactive educational programme that is delivered to schools and the local community.

The sessions include Information on a vegan diet, healthy eating and making matchday food, to help young people get a better understanding of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.