• Germany's news in English
 
German of the Week
How I built world's first vegan supermarket chain
Veganz founder Jan Bredack in one of his vegan supermarkets. Photo: Veganz GmbH

How I built world's first vegan supermarket chain

Published: 05 Jun 2014 18:08 GMT+02:00

Life before starting supermarket chain Veganz was very different for the 42-year-old Berliner who was working as a manager at Daimler.

After suffering burn-out, Jan Bredack decided to change his lifestyle and outlook on life, which he documented in his book “Vegan für alle: Warum wir richtig leben sollten” (Veganism for everyone: Why we should live right).

Bredack, who became a vegan in 2009, told The Local the idea to launch his first supermarket came after trips to Scandinavia, the US and Russia.

“The decision to open a vegan supermarket came from a potpourri of ideas after coming across various vegan products in the US and Russia,” he said, adding that as a vegan he found it hard to “shop normally”.

Veganz currently has two supermarkets in Berlin, with a third to open this year. There are also stores in Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt.

Further branches in Leipzig and Essen will be set up this year with more planned in Essen, Stuttgart, Cologne, Hanover and Düsseldorf.

On May 13th Veganz will open its first store outside Germany in Vienna, with further planned for London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Barcelona, Milan and Copenhagen next year.

Bredack also hopes to take the vegan chain to the other side of the Atlantic. In 2016, Veganz will open a vegan shopping center in Portland, including a shoe and clothing store and restaurant.

Walking into a Veganz supermarket you would be hard pushed to believe that there were no animal products around. Every type of food that you would expect in your usual supermarket is available, from cheeses to different kinds of “fish” and “meat” including, “Tofurky”, “duck” and even “currywurst” and “schnitzel”.

Bredack, a former meat eater, pointed out that Veganz is not aiming to turn the world vegan, but just to make a vegan lifestyle possible to everyone without great effort.

“It should be really simple,” he said, “People shouldn't have to cut out anything.”

But not all of the chain’s customers are vegan. According to Bredack, 80 percent are neither vegan nor vegetarian. They also seem well-educated; Bredack said 60 percent had a university degree and 17 percent were students.

How vegan?

Veganz has attracted criticism from some shoppers as its supermarkets house a bakery chain which used to sell meat products and still sells dairy items. Veganz also has many items shipped in from across the world.

But Bredack dismissed those worries saying all products that come from the US and Canada are transported in cargo ships.

According to the World Shipping Council carbon missions report, container ships emit 10g of carbon dioxide per kilometer for each tonne of cargo compared to 470g released by airfreight.

Bredack added he knew all 272 of his suppliers who come from over 30 different countries.

Where next?

Bredack is taking Veganz a step further, as they plan to take their food to festivals, music and sports events in a mobile snack trailer. From the specially designed food trucks they will offer vegan hotdogs and burgers and plan to tour Europe.

“It's been an incredible challenge but we aim to make 30 burgers in 10 minutes,” he said, “This really is a dream.”

The pressure of establishing the Veganz chain in such a short time is just as intense as it was working at Daimler, Bredack said.

“I do it because it comes from the heart. Money is not the motivation, but the chance to do something good in life,” he added.

SEE ALSO: German children fed too much meat

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Julie Colthorpe (julie.colthorpe@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Workers dismantle Frankfurt Euro sculpture
A worker on a crane removes stars from the Euro sculpture in central Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Workers dismantle Frankfurt Euro sculpture

As a possible Greek exit from the eurozone looms ever larger, threatening to change the face of the euro forever, the currency's home city of Frankfurt is giving its famous Euro sculpture a much-needed facelift. READ  

Greece crisis
Schäuble: no debt cut, up to Greece to move
Images of 'bloodsucking' Wolfgang Schäuble were used to campaign for a 'no' vote in Greece's referendum on bailout terms. Photo: DPA

Schäuble: no debt cut, up to Greece to move

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday that the Greek government would have to make new proposals in order to get help from the rest of the eurozone. READ  

Auschwitz trial
Prosecutors seek 3-1/2 year sentence
Oskar Gröning was an SS guard at Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors seek 3-1/2 year sentence

German prosecutors on Tuesday said they were seeking three and a half years' jail time for a former SS officer known as the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz". READ  

Hot weather to bring tornados and lightning
With this blitz Gerry'll get a taste of his own medicine. Photo: DPA

Hot weather to bring tornados and lightning

After Germans were able to sneak out to restock their wurst and sauerkraut rations during few cool hours on Monday, another heat wave is sweeping across the country on Tuesday, sending people running back to the shade for cover. READ  

July heatwave
Hot dogs lap up liver sausage sundaes
Ice-cream maker Leonardo Caprarese with golden retriever Oscar, enjoying a delicious scoop of Leberwurst ice cream. Photo: DPA

Hot dogs lap up liver sausage sundaes

Hounds languishing in the July heat around Bremen have been treated to a very special snack to cool them down - but it's one that might put humans off their lunch. READ  

Berlin growing twice as fast as expected
Population growth is putting strains on city planning. Photo: DPA

Berlin growing twice as fast as expected

The Berlin senate revealed on Monday that the capital is growing at double the pace that city planners had previously expected. But after decades of stagnation the growth is seen as positive. READ  

Anti-refugee rage grows in Dresden suburbs
Demonstrators outside the Freital refugee home are held back by police on June 26th. Photo: DPA

Anti-refugee rage grows in Dresden suburbs

Freital, the town that became famous last week for irate anti-refugee protestors outside a new home for asylum seekers, saw a fresh confrontation on Monday night as local people gathered for a town hall meeting. READ  

Industrial production stagnates in May
A container ship in the port at Bremerhaven. Photo: DPA

Industrial production stagnates in May

German industrial production stagnated in May, but the overall upward trend remains intact, the economy ministry said on Tuesday. READ  

School hotpants ban sparks online debate
Photo: DPA

School hotpants ban sparks online debate

A school's decision to ban hot pants for girls during the July heatwave has sparked anger online, with feminist activists decrying the decision as sexist. READ  

Greece crisis
Merkel to meet Tsipras at Tuesday summit
Over 60 percent of Greeks voted 'No' in the referendum. Photo: DPA

Merkel to meet Tsipras at Tuesday summit

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a eurozone summit on Tuesday to discuss new Greek reform proposals, Greek government sources said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,863
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd