GARDEN GOURMET x Manchester City #FlexUpYourMenu: Football Players’ Diets and the Flexitarian Approach to menus

Monday, September 20, 2021

A collaborative webinar discussing the flexitarian approach to diets was recently held by GARDEN GOURMET in partnership with Manchester City.

flexitarian menus banner with Manchester City players

Discover the exciting move towards flexitarian menus at Manchester City 

Hosted by our Head of Commercial Channels, Kate Alexander, the session saw a panel from Manchester City come together to explore plant-based produce and how the club has adopted a flexitarian approach, including eating across its campus, from fan and staff feeding, right through to player nutrition

Andrew Taylor, Head of Catering at the club spoke of the societal shift towards plant-based eating in the UK, noting that sustainability in whatever form is incredibly important to Manchester City, alongside ensuring they are leading the way on player nutrition. 

The club has seen amazing uptake of many of the new dishes that feature GARDEN GOURMET alternatives to their usual meat offerings, including plant-based burgers, mince and vegan fillet pieces, which are being integrated into different flexitarian menus across the Etihad Stadium.

The delicious future of flexitarian dishes

Access to choice was a key takeaway from the session, with Manchester City’s Men’s First Team Nutritionists, Hannah Mayho and Tom Parry stepping in to discuss the finer details of players diets. 

What was apparent was the way in which the club have embraced eating flexibly, with every meat item on their Stadium menus now having an alternative plant-based equivalent. From sub-rolls, through to pizzas, dirty fries and nachos, each dish has been given the plant-based touch. Andrew explained this is an active choice, to ensure no one feels they are missing out whether they choose to eat meat or not.

But should all stadiums adopt flexitarian menus and diets? All panelists stressed their belief that no one should be forced to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, but noted that many players and fans at the club are starting to see just how delicious plant-based options can be and are actively choosing them over meat dishes.

Tom and Hannah explained how pre-match and post-match meals vary, noting the ways in which they encourage players to take on essential nutrients whether they are preparing for a game, or winding down afterwards.

They spoke of Bernardo Silva being a big foodie, Rúben Dias showing his love of Portuguese dishes and even *nearly* disclosed the secret recipe for Riyad pasta!

They gave a nod to Pep Guardiola who seems to be playing a key part in the club’s approach to nutrition and the evolving focus on flexitarian eating, with the Manager asking his team nutritionists to play a more involved role in the day-to-day dining scene within the players’ restaurant. 

The session about the flexitarian approach to menus also saw the panel touch on feeding some of the younger academy players, with a discussion around the importance of educating parents on good nutrition first, to allow the thinking to trickle down into the mentality of their kids

In what might have been considered a challenging space to turn heads from classic meat match-day dishes, success has been seen with flexitarian dining being welcomed by many with open arms. Don’t forget, you can find out more about sustainable diets and plant-based nutrition with our handy easy guides.

Man City players enjoying Garden Gourmet plant-based burger

To watch the full webinar, please enter your details below.