It has been reported that REWE, the second-largest food retailer in Germany with approximately 3,300 stores, may open a vegan store on Warschauer Straße, in the east Berlin district of Friedrichshain. Although the company has not confirmed this, the website Supermarketblog noted that while a trademark registration for the name REWE Voll Pflanzlich (REWE completely plant-based) has not yet happened, the new shop front was temporarily visible to passersby during renovation work.

The site of the new store is the same location where the first big vegan supermarket in the world, Veganz, was, but it closed in 2023 so the company could focus on product manufacturing (for a while there was talk about a Veganz supermarket opening in London, but that never happened and all the Veganz stores in Europe ended up closing). The location was known to be the first vegan street where all shops are vegan, so it makes sense that any supermarket opening there will continue to be vegan. 

REWE has increased its plant-based offer in recent years, even introducing a dedicated plant-based meat counter. Additionally, subsidiary brand BILLA has already opened two plant-based stores in Vienna and Graz, Austria, and has extensive plant-based sections in at least 21 additional locations. It is not clear, though, if the new REWE completely plant-based will not only be plant-based but will also be fully vegan (with products not tested on animals and without any animal involvement in their manufacture). 

Germany has 1.5 million vegans and 40 million people who describe themselves as flexitarian, so it is not surprising that this is the country where vegan supermarkets may work.  A 2023 online poll by BVLH of 1,026 Germans run by a German federal association of German retailers analysed customers’ opinions about the plant-based alternatives offered and concluded that 21% believe the range of plant-based alternatives to animal products available in grocery stores is too small and that a higher number of options would lead to 29% of respondents buying more vegan products. It seems that those customers in East Belin could have more options.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.