Going vegan may be a healthy choice, but it’s not an easy one, particularly when it comes to squinting at labels to ferret out the animal byproducts hidden within. But in Berlin, at least, vegan shopping just got a lot easier thanks to Veganz, a pioneer s
BERLIN -- Don't bother going to Jan Bredack's new Berlin supermarket if you're looking for any of the following items: meat, fish, milk, eggs, honey, leather or wool. Veganz, as the shop's name would suggest, is a strictly, 360-degree animal-free zone. It is also the first of its kind, at least in Europe, according to Bredack, the store's 39-year-old owner.
Bredack, who until recently was a manager at Daimler, says his aim was to create a place where people with exacting diets could come and shop in an "uncomplicated" way. Veganz shoppers, in other words, don't have to scour the small print on packaging to try and figure out what the products inside contain.
Unsurprisingly, Bredack himself is a vegan. Depending on who you ask, there are between 80,000 and 500,000 vegans in Germany. It's no wonder the vegetable-loving entrepreneur says has been overwhelmed by the positive reaction that has met his initiative.
Enter the store decorated in various tones of green, and you probably will be there for a while – because the world of vegan products is full of surprises. Alongside items one would find in a conventional market – cornflakes, baby food in jars, bread dumplings – there are dozens of milk free, sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free, cholesterol-free and additive-free yogurts, chocolates, and ice creams, for example.
There are several brands of egg-free mayonnaise, gummy bears without gelatin, and pizza with pseudo cheese and sausage. In most such products, soya takes the place of the usual animal protein. Other favorite substitutes are peas, colza, chicory and manioc. Manufacturers often try to re-create familiar non-vegan products using different ingredients – and often succeed brilliantly. A case in point is "Purely Decadent," a creamy peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.
But some products also offer new (and positive) taste experiences, such as tempeh made from fermented soya, a warm breakfast porridge with ground almonds, bright green spirulina algae bars, or a spicy sauce made from cornflowers and nettles that can be used instead of pesto.
Nearly all of the 6,000 products available at Veganz are organic. More than half bear fair-trade labels. And most of the fresh fruit and veggies come from regional farms.
Read the full story in German by Anne Waak
Photo – Veganz
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations