If you don't happen to be one of the roughly one million vegans currently living in Germany, you're probably under the impression that "Veganz" must be a name for some underground crunk-hop group that raps about slabs of seitan and the sheer unsustainability of modern agribusiness.
If you do happen to be one of those roughly one million Germans, you're likely aware that Veganz is, in fact, the world's first fully vegan supermarket chain.
Created in 2011 by a former meat-eater who came up with the concept after traveling abroad and being exposed to a surplus of vegan foods, Veganz now has nine locations and is the first fully vegan supermarket chain in not just Germany, but the entire world. Whether or not you are a vegan, it's hard to argue about the overall importance of and precedent Veganz sets to everyone with an alternative diet.
Unfortunately, the vegan supermarket chain seems to have hit quite a large roadblock in its goal to ensure that all vegans are able to "shop normally". According to reports that were released yesterday, the chain was forced to file for bankruptcy last month due to a lack of demand and is planning on closing many of its locations.
Jan Bredack, the founder of Veganz, told Lebensmittelzeitung that the growing emergence of other vegan purveyors throughout Germany was largely responsible for Veganz downturn. "The model of the vegan supermarket outstripped itself, because of the growing supply of vegan produce," explained Bredack.
In addition to having stores in German cities like Hamburg and Essen, Veganz has locations in Vienna and Prague and was planning to open a US headquarters in Portland this summer. When asked why the chain chose Portland as the location of its now-unlikely US operations, Bredack said "We've been told it's the most vegan-friendly city in the US."
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Although Veganz aimed to ensure that a vegan lifestyle was possible and easy for all, 80 percent of its customer base were reportedly neither vegan nor vegetarian. "It should be really simple," Bredack said of becoming a vegan. "People shouldn't have to cut out anything."
Sadly, it looks as though the world will never know what could have become of the world's first fully vegan supermarket chain. In the words of Lana Del Rey…