The weekly shop can be a challenging undertaking, especially on a student budget. The balance between consuming healthy fresh food whilst at the same time reducing waste is something Veganic may provide a solution for. Nestled on the corner of Stephens Green, this new independent Irish store has been open for two months and specialises in vegan and organic food, as well as toiletries and other organic and plant-based household products.
Walking into Veganic, my first observation was how bright the store was, smaller than an average Tesco express or Eurospar, yet it appeared bigger and packed more variety with products unfamiliar to the average seasoned shopper. I asked a member of staff about Veganic and Jenny, one of the managers, was keen to tell me about the supermarket’s inception: “The idea for Veganic was born out of a mix of people, some were vegans and some were interested in organic food, it was a combination of the two,”
Many of the staff in Veganic are chefs or have a culinary background, which they incorporate into their customer service. “People can come in and we can help them with nutritional advice or give them recipes,” Jenny says as she explains the brand’s vision. “Our aim is to reach people who might not necessarily know about vegan or organic food.”
“The idea for veganic was born out of a mix of people, some were vegans and some were interested in organic food, it was a combination of the two.”
The supermarket boasts an impressive selection of vegan, gluten free and organic food, as well as toiletries such as menstrual cups and other de-compostable sanitary products and bamboo toothbrushes. Despite the impressive range of products, it somehow doesn’t feel overwhelming. Perhaps the warmth and willingness of staff to chat to you, and the calmness of the shop with only a few customers milling around on a Friday afternoon, makes for a pleasing shopping experience. The geography of the store is logical and spatially aware. There’s a freezer section with vegan and vegetarian pizzas priced at €6. Further down the wall, there is a zero waste dispensary with fruits, berries, pasta and nuts all in large tubes where shoppers can buy whatever amount they wish. “We have paper bags but some people come in at lunchtime and use reusable containers to get some snacks for their lunch,” Jenny tells me as she highlights this as one of the main features of the supermarket.
One of the main excuses people use to justify their omnivorous diet is how expensive and inaccessible vegan or plant-based food is to find. With a dedicated supermarket now just a 5 minute walk from Nassau Street, is there any reason not to drop in? The price point will cause a bit of a dent in an average student’s budget. A €5 bamboo toothbrush isn’t the easiest purchase to justify, nor is a frozen vegan pizza for €6, though some of the shops products have a longer lifespan than their plastic or non-recyclable alternatives, such as menstrual cups for €25 which can last on average between 2-4 years.
“This is not a traditional supermarket experience.”
This is not a traditional supermarket experience and could now start to pave the way for mainstream supermarkets to follow suit. The Organic Supermarket was a short-lived chain which had stores in Rathgar, Malahide and Blackrock that sold organic products but was not successful long term, having closed after 3 years in 2018. Perhaps the vegan focus is something which could prove to be a winning formula for Veganic?
Two months into opening, the supermarket does not have any immediate plans for expansion, though they are currently focusing on their website. In particular, they are developing a delivery service in which they hope to include a click and collect option as well as regular delivery, to ensure Veganic is even more accessible to those who cannot always make it in store.
Is Veganic the most affordable supermarket out there? Certainly not. Is there anything else like it in Ireland? For the time being, no. This could be a new staple in Dublin, and possibly even nationwide in the area of vegan and environmentally conscious products. The majority of their products are Irish, with a few being imported from France and Germany within the EU. The range of products from overseas and at home here in Ireland will be sure to contribute to the foreseeable success of this unconventional supermarket.