The story of Veganz, the first vegan grocery chain in Europe, is also the story of Jan Bredack, its founder, and how he became a vegan.
Not your typical retailer, Jan was originally working up a stellar career as a senior manager for the German car company “Daimler”, building amongst others, the first Russian factory for utility vehicles, but by 2008 Jan experienced a burnout and decided to take some time off.
This is when he met a vegetarian who helped him to rethink his consumption of meat and fish. After becoming himself a dedicated vegetarian and developing strong ecological convictions, Jan became a vegan, but soon realised how difficult it is to buy groceries. Seeing this gap in the market, he decided to create Germany’s first vegan supermarket, opening in the summer of 2011 in Berlin.
With over 190 employees and eight additional branches, it goes without saying that Veganz is a success. Jan learnt many lessons in the process, including trusting his own instinct and the support of his community:
“most of the people I have met where absolutely open-minded for this new lifestyle and my idea to open up an entirely plant-based grocery store. Many of them offered their help and supported me. That was a great experience and clearly confirmed my plans even though five years ago, living a vegan lifestyle was something rather uncommon in Germany…”
More than a business ambitious, Veganz was part of Jan’s desire to leave a mark and to be his contribution in making our planet a little bit better… Convinced that veganism is our future, he also believes that Veganz as a company should lead the way through its sustainable and ethical business practices. Veganz’ main purpose is not only to make vegan products accessible to anyone, but also to stand for respect and responsibility towards all people, animals and the environment.
However you don’t have to be a vegan to shop at Veganz. In fact almost half of Veganz’ customers aren’t; about 30 % consider themselves vegetarians and 17 % describe themselves as omnivores. Some have food allergies, others are trying to live healthier, be fitter or lose weight, but all have in common an ecological principles, and adhere to the company’s motto, “Wir lieben Leben” (We love life).
Photos courtesy of Veganz