Sports events exist to entertain people with skill and athleticism exhibited by the players. Whether it is football, baseball, soccer, or basketball and at many levels of competition; be it college, minor league, or major league, all of the players exude health and athleticism. However, when it comes to the fans, it can often be a completely different story. There is an irony that exists in that the lifestyles of the fans are often completely opposite from that of the players. The food stigma of watching sporting events is marked by artery clogging, cancer causing hot dogs, chili, pizza, nachos, and candy. This trend is not only at the live sporting events, but also at home and bars while watching the events on TV. However, I feel that Americans are becoming more concerned and educated about the adverse health effects from consuming these types of foods. Finally, people are aligning sports with healthy eating lifestyles.
There is a recent trend happening in stadiums across America which is helping people feel good physically and mentally and that is the inclusion of plant-based options at concessions. Not only are people making healthier choices for themselves, they are making the green choice due to the shockingly detrimental effects that animal products have on our environment (Steinfeld, et al., 2006).
The stadiums are also making the sustainable choice to offer veg friendly fare. For instance, Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers is taking this trend and running with it. All of their concessions stands have at least one vegan item offered while over 20% of items on their menus are vegetarian and 17% are vegan (Meatless Monday, 2015). Award winning concessions partner, Aramark is proud to announce their success at Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, PNC Park, Coors Field, and Fenway Parks for their vegan fare such as tofu cheesesteak, mac & cheez, loaded backed potatoes, kale salad, quinoa burgers, and veggie rolls, burgers, and hot dogs (Aramark, 2015). Other big stadiums with veg offerings include the Cleveland Browns Firstenergy Stadium, , Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, Sand Diego Padres Petco Park, and The Seattle Mariners Safeco Field (Meatless Monday, 2015).
Stadiums like these are setting a precedent for others to follow. In fact, my hometown minor league baseball team, The Hillsboro Hops offer a vegan burger by Field Roast! In fact, when I went to Field Roast’s website, their main screen showed a football stadium with “Meatless Monday Night Football”! Field Roast vegan sausages have been sold in bulk at Costcos near me for years now. It is a fairly easy task to make small steps at first which only requires some simple omissions of animal products such as making the bean chili meatless, offering a veggie pizza crust made without egg and no cheese, leave the pork out of baked beans, use vegetable oil in the fryers instead of animal fat, and fat free refried beans (no lard).
I believe that the future of veg options at sports concessions is going to continue to grow as there are more and more people becoming vegan and vegetarian. The food market has clearly shown the popularity of meatless products such as non-dairy milk and cheese products, and even egg free substitutes. The vegan movement is exploding due to people becoming more educated about how it benefits their health, animals, and the planet’s very survival. Every consumer’s choice to consume healthy, ecologically responsible food makes a difference in the supply chain and thus the world.
Ammon, R., Southball, R. M., & Nagel, M. (2010). Sports Facility Management. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
Aramark (2015). Aramark ballparks take 5 of top 10 spots on most vegetarian-friendly list. Retrieved from http://www.aramark.com/about-us/news/stadiums-arenas/peta-vegetarian-friendly-ballparks
Meatless Monday (2015). New report finds meatless sports concessions are a game changer. Retrieved from http://www.meatlessmonday.com/articles/new-report-finds-meatless-sports-concessions-are-a-game-changer/
Steinfeld H, Gerber P, Wassenaar T, et al. (2006). Livestock’s Long Shadow. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM