This article is adapted from the business magazine Capital and is available here for ten days. Afterwards it will only be available to read at Like stern, Capital belongs to RTL Deutschland.

“Please forward the carrot,” shouts an excited RWE employee. A life-sized broccoli and a strawberry are already waiting at the door. “Make Berlin more comfortable” is what their costumes say. A PR stunt by those responsible for Rewe, who are opening their first fully plant-based supermarket in Germany in Berlin – a corner shop on Warschauer Straße, in the middle of colorful Friedrichshain, where Berlin is at its hippest. A fresh wind is blowing outside, a lonely gentleman is playing the cello. There are wrapped oatmeal cookies and “Colorful Bear” bags lying on the bar tables that no one opens.

Celebrity guest Franziska Giffey (SPD), Berlin’s Senator for Economic Affairs, has arrived and Peter Maly, Rewe board member, proudly leads a tour of the new store. Rewe has 2,700 vegan products in its range here. There are 1700 in an ordinary Rewe. There is the “No Muuh Drink”, a Rewe own brand made from organic oats and soy, and a kebab-like “Like Doner” with a “wow taste”.

Giffey praises “the innovative offer”. She is given a thin, delicate yellow drink. A vegan eggnog – made from soy, corn and a hint of vanilla. The SPD Economics Senator sips carefully, doesn’t make a face and then says: “very fruity, a new taste experience.” She prefers to keep the next taste, a vegan soft ice cream fresh from the ice cream machine, in her cup.

Someone wants to know if she follows a vegan diet and Giffey replies that she’s not particularly good at it. A vegan diet is not a must and certainly not a question of morality. This means it should pretty much reflect the opinion of the majority of Germans. But she is amazed at how good some meat substitute products taste – almost like real sausages or schnitzel. That too has a majority.

The Berlin store is a pilot project with which the supermarket chain is testing what goes down well, says Rewe board member Maly. In a year or later they want to decide whether the fully plant-based Rewe branches are worth it. There is already interest from Munich.

One thing is still important to the Rewe manager. There are no exorbitant prices here and we deliberately put affordable products in the range. He points to a salad bag from Rewe’s own brand “Ja!” in the refrigerator shelf. Sure, lettuce is completely plant-based. But what about the bag? Ms. Giffey thinks the prices are “very reasonable” and it is “so nice” that Rewe has opened a fully plant-based supermarket here again. The previous tenant’s attempt at the same location went wrong.

“Veganz”, the supermarket for plant-based products, closed its last supermarket in Berlin at the end of 2023 and now only produces vegan food. Veganz bars are now on the Rewe shelf. On the way out there are still samples for the Senator for Economic Affairs. There is also a bottle of eggnog.