Finding out that Veganz, Germany's all-vegan supermarket chain, was making its way over to Portland this year was very exciting news. The demand for plant-based alternatives is increasing, and the idea of a supermarket dedicated to all things vegan sounded almost too good to be true.
While traveling in Germany this year, I knew that no matter what city I spent time in, I would make sure to visit a Veganz location and see it for myself. I planned to buy some treats and get a sneak peek at what Portland can expect. While I of course had my expectations based on visiting various "Vegetarian/Vegan" sections in standard shops or supermarkets, Veganz definitely blew those expectations out of the water!
I decided to visit the one in Hamburg, located on Schützenstraße 21. On the way there, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of plant-based restaurants and eco-markets along the way. The street alone seemed veg-friendly! I soon found Veganz with the help of some German friends, and the following are my top seven impressions of the supermarket!
1. The Interior
While I was definitely in a rush to see all the products and buy some treats, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful artwork inside the supermarket! There were beautiful drawings of raccoons, foxes, deer, and rabbits all over the entrance. It was definitely a nice welcome and made you realize you were in a cruelty-free zone!
2. The Vegan Cafe
I actually had no idea that Veganz had a full cafe with sandwiches, meals, desserts and beverages available, complete with a seating area! I saw some really delicious-looking options, including wraps, sandwiches, bagels, muffins, cakes, cookies, as well as juices and smoothies, which definitely made me wish that I came hungry!
3. The Variety
Since Veganz is an all-vegan supermarket, I thought I kind of had an idea of what to expect, but I definitely underestimated the variety of plant-based foods available. I was absolutely floored by the abundance of options--not just in terms of general categories, but also for each of the categories themselves!
Veganz is definitely a one-stop shop for all of your plant-based needs, and includes vegan milks, meats, spreads, cheeses, alcohol, desserts, condiments, beauty products, cleaning supplies, dog and cat food, specialty products, and a lot more. I was very surprised to see the wide variety of milks and cheeses available--many of which were actually new to me. They also have a bulk section for nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, and the goji berries were the cheapest I had ever seen.
While I expected the prices to be quite high, I was pleasantly surprised by them. Some items such as specialty products and supplements were of course in the higher end, but generally speaking the prices were much more reasonable than I anticipated.
4. The Exposure to New Products
While I am not new to vegan brands and plant-based alternatives to just about anything, I saw many new items in Veganz I actually didn't know existed before! The wide variety was definitely the reason, and just one of my new discoveries included vegan "toona", which is even packaged in a can!
5. The Sampling!
In my opinion, any good shop or supermarket always allows customers to do a little sampling! While I was checking out the selection of chocolate spreads available at Veganz, I also noticed a sampling section specific to these spreads. I was able to try the Veganz brand of chocolate-coconut cream, which was super rich, and was definitely made for people who prefer dark chocolate. With some chocolate in me, I continued to do my shopping--just a little happier!
6. The Information Booth
Near the cash registers, there was also an information booth packed with important magazines, pamphlets and news for vegans or those leaning towards a plant-based diet. There was information on the diet, nutrition, recipes, animal rights, local and international organizations, local events and shops, and a donation area for various causes. While most of the materials were in German, I especially liked the nutrition information and charts!
7. The Loot!
As I was going to head to a barbecue later that day, I decided to finally try soy-based medallions, which I heard were great for barbecuing, and I also bought Tofurkey sausages since there was a flavor I had never tried. I also wanted to take advantage of the vegan sweets available, so I opted to buy a Veganz brand cookie package, and a raw chocolate bar that was the priciest of the bunch.
While the Tofurkey sausages were my least favorite (I will stick to other flavors), the cookies were absolutely delicious with a very rich and creamy chocolate middle. The raw chocolate definitely tasted as healthy as it sounded but it was still a welcome treat with really great ingredients. The soy medallions were also a very tasty and filling addition to the vegetables on the barbecue!
While my first experience in Veganz was definitely positive and went above my already high expectations, I thought they could carry more cruelty-free vegan makeup in the beauty products area, since these products usually have to be ordered online and there is quite a high demand for them. Since they had so much variety for all other categories, I thought they could definitely expand that particular section to keep up with the rest of the supermarket!
Regardless, I'm definitely ready for my second round and will now aim to visit the much closer location of Veganz in Portland when it officially opens!