Where can one find gummy bears without gelatin, mayonnaise without eggs, and ice cream without dairy? If you’re in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg area, then you’re in luck, as it is home to Veganz, Europe’s first vegan supermarket.
Founded by Jan Bredack, who previously worked as a manager at Mercedes-Benz, Veganz opened its doors in July 2011 and is a 100 percent animal-free supermarket, complete with a bakery, bistro, and cosmetics section.
For non-vegans, the idea of a supermarket without meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, or honey might conjure up thoughts of weird food items that taste like cardboard (or worse). But upon entering the well-decorated store, one will see “normal” items on the shelves such as baby food, cornflakes, yogurt, pizza, and even wine and beer! The only difference is that all these products contain absolutely no animal ingredients.
If you’re feeling adventurous, Veganz also offers some more novel victuals, like tempeh (fermented soybean patties), pumpkin seed butter, and spirulina algae bars. You can find dairy product alternatives that are sugar-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, and additive-free as well. Additionally, almost all products at Veganz are organic, more than 50 percent are fair trade, and the majority of the fresh produce come from local farms.
Product manager Lena Einecke explains, “We don’t intend for Veganz to be a health food shop but rather a general store where customers of all persuasions can shop.”
Indeed, with 6,000 premium and affordable products filling up the aisles, there’s bound to be something for everyone, from the curious passerby to the veteran vegan.
Bredack, who originally went vegan because of a woman, says he established Veganz to provide a venue where people with dietary restrictions could shop in an “uncomplicated” manner, that is, without having to peruse product labels in order to see if an item contained any animal ingredients. And according to Bredack, the public’s response to Veganz has been positive. While the numbers aren’t clear, it’s estimated that there are 80,000 to 500,000 vegans in Germany.