Visiting a bakery often includes doing some guesswork when looking for vegan products. Traditionally, the industry uses a lot of butter, eggs and milk. You can’t always tell whether the breads or pastries contain animal products. Cheese and cold cuts also dominate as toppings for snacks.
To make it easier for customers to find their way around, we have compared the vegan range of the most popular bakery chains in Germany. Der Beck from Bavaria came in first place. The company achieved good results in all categories. This also applies to the Northern German bakery Junge, which came in second with its somewhat smaller vegan range. Far ahead of the other companies, the strengths of the third-placed BackWerk lie in the snack area and in the extensive communication of the »vegan«-topic.
Method and Evaluation Criteria
For our comparison, we selected companies with annual sales of at least 50 million euros and questioned them in January 2019 about the vegan offerings in their German stores. When we did not receive an answer, our local groups, which were distributed throughout Germany, personally informed themselves about the vegan product range. As they were only able to check this on a random basis, we had to assume that the products were only available regionally, which in turn led to a lower rating.
The decisive factor for us was not only the size of the vegan range, but also whether it was available in at least 95% of the stores or only in a selected few. In addition, the baked goods were divided into three groups and weighted differently: Vegan pastries and snacks scored more points than vegan breads and rolls, as the latter are usually already vegan. Another important aspect for us was whether and how hot drinks can be prepared with plant-based milk alternatives.
We also looked at how the bakeries label and advertise their vegan range – both in the stores (e.g. on price tags) and on the company websites as well as in advertising, e.g. on social media.
Conclusion: Vegan Offer in Bakeries has Potential for Development
Vegan breads and rolls are an integral part of the assortment in most bakery chains. Some bakeries have also recognized that cakes, snacks or coffee do not require animal ingredients for good taste and quality. In social media channels, the vegan assortment is already being communicated attractively by many companies.
Overall, however, the vegan range, especially of pastries and snacks, is still far too small despite some excellent creations. In addition, we cannot say of any of the bakeries that they reliably offer plant milk in all their stores.
Companies also sometimes use animal ingredients in products that would do just as well without them. For example, kaiser rolls or pretzels can contain milk powder. Honey is sometimes added to bread dough. This makes in-store labeling all the more important. Often we also miss a vegan-filter on the company websites.