Everyone knows that the best part of a football match is the food at half time. Pies, burgers, hot dogs – you name it, I’m there.
Okay, maybe that’s just me and actual football fans care more about their team winning. They’re wrong though.
Either way, fans at the Crystal Palace and Wolves match last weekend were in for a surprise when a van offering free food turned up. And let’s face it, the only thing better than food is free food, right?
The van offered hungry fans a wide range of food options – including ‘beef’ burgers, melt burgers, hot dogs and chilli dogs. But what fans didn’t know is that the van was offering veggie versions of their usual meals.
Sainsbury’s set up the ‘sausage sting’ to promote their new range of plant-based products. The supermarket has expanded its range of vegan-friendly products by over a third, making it easier for their customers to enjoy a veggie, plant-based dish for breakfast, dinner and tea.
Fans of both teams were enticed towards the van with promises of free food before Wolves’ 1-0 win on Saturday October 6, completely unaware that they were being given meat alternatives.
Most people were pleasantly surprised when they were told about the change, shocked that they couldn’t taste the difference.
Shaun Berry, who travelled down from Wolverhampton to see Wolves play at Selhurst Park, said:
Nice taste, that. We never eat veggie or vegan stuff at home, but these days it’s coming in more and more.
Five years ago things were really different. There are alternatives for everyone, and I’m all for it to be honest.
Others agreed and couldn’t believe how similar the alternatives tasted to actual meat-products.
Tony Arch, a Crystal Palace fan, said:
Very nice, it’s not meat but it tastes like meat. I don’t eat veggie usually, but my next door neighbour, who’s Finnish, eats it all the time, so I’ll have some of that when I go over to see her.
The food van really got into the spirit of things, putting out ‘free burgers’ signs and shouting over to fans to encourage them to grab a freebie.
And it worked, as people swarmed to the van and made the most of the too-good-to-be-true offer. Some people even took to social media to brag about it.
One Palace fan was relieved to find out his chilli dog was meat free, as he had been told by his wife to lay off red meat.
Roy Walker said:
I don’t normally grab food in the ground. We usually stop in and get a sausage roll or something in Sainsbury’s.
They used to have burgers in the grounds but the price was going up every season, so a stand out here would be busy all afternoon if it was here full time.
I have to agree with the above. The last football match I went to (Burnley, obviously), I took a fiver to buy a pie and a hot dog for me and my dad and had to go back and ask him for more money – what a rip off!
Some customers did suss the van out though, realising there was more to the offer than meets the eye.
Elizabeth Kozlowski said:
These guys think they are eating meat – but I knew. I looked over at the grill while they were making the burgers and I thought something looked different.
I don’t mind if they’re not meat, though. I try to stick to a vegetarian diet at home, and I don’t eat much red meat – and it’s nice to see other people trying it, even if they don’t know it.
All in all, it seems the stunt was a huge success and may have actually persuaded some people to try more veggie and vegan options.
Which bodes well for Sainsbury’s, who have added an additional 22 meat-free products to offer a bigger and better selection of snacks and ingredients for people to get creative with.
All products are available in store and online now.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).