Europe's leading vegan supermarket retailer Veganz is stepping up its European expansion this year. The company has signed distribution agreements with the Austrian Spar chain and the Swiss supermarket retailer Coop.
Since the opening of its first store in 2011, Berlin-based Veganz has gone from strength to strength. Group turnover for 2015 reached 24.151 million Euro, up 130% compared to 2014. There are eight Veganz stores in Germany plus one outlet in Vienna (Austria) and one in Prague (Czech Republic). The retailer also introduced its own label food brand, which has been successful and is currently distributed in around 3700 POS across Germany.
One of the ingredients in Veganz's success is the company's multi-pronged distribution strategy which is tailored to the specific demands of each country.
In its home market, Veganz followed a traditional pattern. In 2011, founder Jan Bredack opened the first Veganz store in Berlin's trendy and green Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. The new vegan supermarket was successful almost overnight. A second outlet in the German capital opened in the Friedrichshain area two years later.
In 2014, the Veganz group started expansion, in addition to opening a Veganz outlet in Vienna and a franchise store in Prague, Veganz signed distribution agreements with Germany's largest supermarket chains, including Edeka, Netto, Kaisers, and Globus.
In 2015, wholesale retailer Metro Cash & Carry and the German drugstore market leader DM were added to the list of Veganz's distribution partners. With the Metro connection, Veganz entered the lucrative wholesale and gastro retail market while the DM partnership played a key role in driving forward Veganz's brand recognition in Germany.
DM is not just the leader of the German drugstore retail channel, but also a highly-regarded and popular chain. Veganz's distribution in DM started with 54 stores across Germany. These outlets sold a selection of products under the Veganz label and other brands, with a focus on superfoods, confectionery, and snacks.
The project proved to be so successful that in March 2016 distribution was rolled out to all of DM's 1750 German stores. A couple of months later, Veganz launched an online store, initially with 50 products. The online selection will eventually include the entire line of Veganz's own label plus a wide range of other vegan brands.
The company is not planning on opening any additional stores in Germany now, according to founder Jan Bredack. Instead, his team will be working on two critical areas: expanding the wholesale business and extending their brand.
Veganz is adapting its distribution strategy for the international development. Bredack explains “in 2016 we are focusing on expanding our wholesale activities in the EU, especially in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the UK. The first step will be to enter the wholesale and online distribution channel in selected European countries."
In June 2016, Veganz announced that it would be cooperating with Swiss supermarket retailer Coop. Some 30 products under the Veganz label, including confectionery, raw food bars, and superfoods, will be available in 190 Coop supermarkets across Switzerland.
And, in July, the company inked a distribution agreement with the Austrian Spar chain for around 40 products under the Veganz label to be sold in Spar markets across the country. Spar is one of the leading food retailers in Austria with some 1600 supermarkets.
Besides the geographic expansion, Veganz also has big plans for its food label, which has been a primary driver for the company's success in the German market.
Veganz' own label food range currently comprises 100 SKU, and the company has just launched some new confectionery and convenience foods. The primary focus for 2016 is free-from foods, frozen and chilled products. Convenience and superfoods are also still a significant trend. By 2017, the company is planning to offer a total of 300 products under its brand.
The future appears promising indeed- for 2016; the group is anticipating a turnover of 82.178 million Euro. Bredack is optimistic: "in 2017 we will concentrate on our expansion in Europe. What comes after that we can't say yet. However, I am confident that this is only the beginning for Veganz!"