Jan Bredack had hit a point in his life where he felt burnt out – he decided to turn everything around and start eating and living healthier. He became vegan in 2009, and opened up Veganz — one of the world’s only vegan supermarkets — in Berlin in 2011.
“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.” Now every Veganz market boasts products as varied as vegan cheese, “duck,” “fish,” and even “currywurst” and “schnitzel.”
This is part of Bredack’s mission to spread a vegan message: “I don’t go around preaching to people, saying you’re a bad person if you don’t eat vegan food, I’m saying why not give it a try?” According to Bredack, 80% of his customers are neither vegan nor vegetarian.
Currently, Veganz is in several German cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Frankfurt, and Bredack is ready to take Europe by storm. He opened a store in Vienna in May, and will launch in London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Barcelona, Milan, and Copenhagen within a year. He’ll even take his show on the road – Bredack’s next venture is a food truck that will offer vegan hot dogs and burgers at festivals, concerts, and sporting events across the continent.
Veganz’ success is further proof that vegan eating has reached the mainstream in Germany. In addition to the annual Berlin VegFest which draws in more than 10,000 people, the city of Bremen celebrates “Thursday Veggie Day,” the Green Party is lobbying for a nationwide Veggie Day, and vegan options have even been introduced at the popular Oktoberfest. Moreover, 16 all-vegan restaurants have popped up just in Berlin in the last two years alone.
Bredack couldn’t be happier about these trends and what they mean for the success of his business, but ultimately, his advocacy is motivated by love: “I do it because it comes from the heart. Money is not the motivation, but the chance to do something good in life.”