• Germany edition
 
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
Updated: 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ebola patient arrives at Hamburg hospital
A practice drill in UKE's isolation unit where the patient will be treated. Photo: Jochen Koppelmeyer/UKE dpa/lno

Ebola patient arrives at Hamburg hospital

UPDATE: The first patient to be treated for Ebola in Germany arrived in Hamburg on Wednesday morning. READ  

Want to avoid driving fines? Swap seats
Photo: DPA

Want to avoid driving fines? Swap seats

A driver in western Germany should not be fined for "negligent driving" because he had swapped seats after a warning sign, a court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants
Demonstrators hold up a banner against Roma deportations in 2013. Photo: DPA

Germany to lock out 'cheating' EU migrants

Germany is expected to announce new measures on Wednesday to expel EU citizens who cheat the country's social security system or commit other crimes. READ  

Police find €20 million of cannabis in woods
The cannabis was found by a walker who alerted police. Photo: DPA

Police find €20 million of cannabis in woods

Police have found 18,500 cannabis plants with a street value of €20 million growing in the woods on the Dutch-German border. READ  

Anti-stress law moves step closer in Germany
Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles speaking to journalists in July. Photo: DPA

Anti-stress law moves step closer in Germany

Germany’s Labour Minister Andrea Nahles has given her backing to an anti-stress law, announcing a study into workers' mental health on Tuesday. READ  

Former Porsche execs to stand trial over VW bid
Former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking (left) and CFO Holger Härter. Photo: DPA

Former Porsche execs to stand trial over VW bid

A German court ruled on Tuesday that Porsche's former chief executive and financial officers must stand trial for alleged share price manipulation in a failed attempt to take over Volkswagen in 2008. READ  

Analysis
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
How Tegel may look from above and an architect's idea for a temporary façade design until ICC's future is decided. Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer H. & Partner

How will Berlin look in five years' time?

From Tempelhof to Tegel, Berlin's airports cause its politicians headaches. In the first of two articles, The Local looks at plans and problems for development in the city's western half. What's next for the West? READ  

Wowereit confirms December resignation
Wowereit has been Berlin's mayor since 2001. Photo: DPA

Wowereit confirms December resignation

UPDATE: Klaus Wowereit, Berlin's long-serving mayor, confirmed on Tuesday he would step down from his post on December 11th. His popularity has taken a dive over the scandal of Berlin's new international airport. READ  

German woman killed by Tunisian police
Photo: DPA

German woman killed by Tunisian police

UPDATE: The family of a German woman who was shot dead by Tunisian police have accused officers of "executing" the 21-year-old law student from Bonn. READ  

Study shows poverty isn't the same old story
Poverty in Germany looks different than previously thought. Photo: DPA

Study shows poverty isn't the same old story

Germany has a new story about income inequality after years of simplistic thinking about a rich West and poor East. A study released on Monday shows the wealth divide is more between city and country than East and West. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: DPA
National
Size does matter in this case, rules judge
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,428
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd