Dale Vince, the entrepreneur behind Ecotricity and vegan football club Forest Green Rovers has launched a new business to meet the demands of a growing number of children who are choosing a meat-free diet.

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The vegan food company, Devil’s Kitchen, hopes to supply five million meals directly into schools and colleges under the new Little Green Devils range by this time next year.

Veganism is on the rise and is driven by the young – since 2016 there has been a 350 percent increase in the number of people choosing to quit meat and diary – and of the 542,000 vegans in the UK today it is estimated that 42 per cent are aged 15-34.

“Kids really get vegan food,” Dale explained. “They’re more open minded and want more choice with their food.”

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Menu options in the range include vegetable balls and burgers that are 100 per cent plant-based, made with legumes, fruits, herbs and spices.

And even before the first order of 50,000 burgers is delivered to London schools later this month the company has received an incredible response to the new offer.

“Our products are simple - great food made from vegetables for kids,” Dale continued.

“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 even began the company is understood to have been approached by university caterers and public attractions who want to be able to offer food that is not only vegan, but also free from 14 major food allergens – including nuts, seeds, gluten and soya – making them accessible to everybody.

Additionally the range is free from palm oil, MSG and all artificial ingredients, will be supplied in compostable packaging, and the company will use wind power and look to reduce water consumption in the hope of becoming carbon neutral.

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Little Green Devils is the first savoury vegan product to be made specifically for the school market and the purpose-built factory launched a little over a year after the first speculative email from Barry Jordan, who is now general manager.

“I sent an email to Dale with the idea and heard back within 48 hours,” said Barry, who has 15 years experience in the food industry.

“I am really excited about what the future holds, we’ve had so much positive feedback.

“We want make delicious food that doesn’t damage the planet - we all have a responsibility to that.”

Asked what his next vegan venture will be Dale said he wanted to target more sports clubs: “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.”