Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Food & Drink at Football Grounds

BaukeBeertema, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the past, finding decent food at a football stadium was a luxury reserved for a privileged few in the hospitality areas. Fortunately, times have changed, and now there are more acceptable food options available on the concourses of top-flight grounds throughout the country.

The same can be said for drink options. While you may not be able to take your pint pitchside due to an outdated rule, you can still enjoy an alcoholic beverage before the match and during halftime.

So, how has the food and drink landscape evolved over the years? What sets today’s offerings apart from those of the past? Which clubs spearheaded the transformation, particularly in the Premier League? We’ve delved into the topic because we know you’re eager to know the answers.

Price of Food and Drink in UK Football Stadiums

Premier League

Championship

League One

League Two

Scotland

How Has Food in Football Stadiums Changed?

Paul Wilkinson / Flickr.com

This section could easily be titled ‘Has Food Changed Over The Years?’ because in many ways, it hasn’t. Traditional football stadium food in England still revolves around meat pies, which remain a staple for the average fan. However, nowadays, clubs have attempted to upgrade their food options.

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When you visit a top-flight football stadium today, you’re likely to find a wider selection of food, such as hot dogs, nachos, and even pizza at some locations. However, classics like burgers, chips, and pies are here to stay. Of course, the specific food options available may vary depending on the region. For example, in the South-West, you’re more likely to find pasties instead of pies.

One iconic item you can still find at concession stands within football stadiums is Bovril. Made in Burton-upon-Trent, this meat-based gravy drink has been a long-standing favorite among fans. In fact, Bovril even themed much of its advertising around attracting football fans in the past.

Type of Food At Football Grounds

Matthew Wilkinson / Flickr.com

In the mid-1990s, McDonald’s opened the world’s first fast food restaurant within a football stadium, specifically Liverpool’s famous Kop grandstand. This move signified a shift in how football clubs approached the food they offered to supporters.

Over the years, various football clubs have attempted to change the dietary habits of their fans. While some initiatives have not succeeded, it’s important to acknowledge the clubs that have tried something different. In 2009, a study on food at football grounds highlighted a demand for healthier options and more variety. This demand prompted Forest Green to start offering meat-free and environmentally sustainable food to their supporters in 2011.

The decision by Forest Green was part of their overall goal to become one of the world’s most sustainable football clubs. However, it also gave fans the chance to explore new tastes. The club’s journey towards better concession stand fare began by revolutionizing the food the players consumed.

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While supporters in hospitality areas have long enjoyed a more diverse range of food options, clubs are now considering different food types in the design of new stadiums. For example, Tottenham’s new ground will feature a ‘cheese room,’ and Stamford Bridge is also undergoing development. However, for the majority of fans, a pint, a pie, and a cup of Bovril will continue to be the go-to choice.

Football Stadium Food & Drink Around The World

Lars, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered what food is available at football stadiums in different countries? Here’s a quick glimpse into the variety you can expect:

  • Croatia: Typically, you’ll find seeds and peanuts (Koštice, Kikiriki) at Croatian football grounds.
  • Denmark: Danish football stadiums serve a ‘stadion platte,’ a bread roll filled with two sausages, ketchup, and mustard, accompanied by a pint of beer.
  • Estonia: Estonian football fans enjoy hot soup with garlic bread and sometimes beef jerky.
  • Faroe Islands: Here, youth players sell coffee and sweets to supporters, with the proceeds going towards youth football development.
  • France: In France, you can treat yourself to a galette-saucisse, which is a thin pancake wrapped around a fried pork sausage. Cider is a popular accompaniment.
  • Germany: Sausages and beer, including bratwurst and currywurst, are favorites at German football grounds.
  • Greece: Greek vendors offer ‘vromiko,’ a sandwich filled with bread, bratwurst or kebab meat, French fries, mustard, and mayo.
  • Italy: Salamella, a grilled sausage sandwich flavored with onions and paprika, is a classy option at Italian football stadiums.
  • Portugal: Portuguese fans enjoy bifana, a seasoned grilled pork-steak sandwich or entremeadas, a sandwich filled with pork or bacon pieces.
  • San Marino: Piadina, a flatbread filled with cheese, ham, and vegetables, is a local specialty in San Marino.
  • Spain: Fans at La Liga matches often indulge in a filled baguette called a bocadillo or enjoy seeds and nuts.
  • Sweden: While hot dogs are common, some Swedish fans prefer almond-paste filled cakes called mazarin, accompanied by strong coffee.
  • Turkey: Meatballs, known as ‘köfte ekmek,’ are popular in Turkey, along with a salty yogurt drink called ‘ayran.’
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The Future of Football Ground Refreshments

By Rocketpacks (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For most football fans, the future of the game revolves around new player signings. However, football clubs themselves are constantly looking to enhance their refreshment offerings.

A trip to a top-flight club in England today is already a different experience compared to ten years ago. You can find individuals walking around with backpacks filled with lager, ready to pour a pint within seconds to save you from queuing. Some grounds even have Bottoms Up beer dispensers, capable of pouring up to 44 pints in a minute.

As shown by Forest Green’s success, the biggest change will likely be the food served at stadiums. Five years after removing meat from their menu, the club continues to thrive with its vegetarian options. With more clubs aiming to cater to diverse dietary needs, such as offering Halal food for Muslim supporters, traditional options like Bovril and pies may become scarcer.

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