An all-vegan supermarket selling national, international, and organic foods is now open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The store - Vegan Fine Foods - was created by Florida Atlantic University professor Dr. Steven Smith, a vegan of two decades.
Dr. Smith initially ditched animal products in a bid to improve his health after 'seven years of hard work and stress getting two postgraduate degrees'.
"I didn’t start out deciding to become a life-long vegan," says Dr. Smith.
"I started a plant-based diet just to get my health back and lose weight.
"After a few weeks on a healthy plant-based diet I felt great and had so much more energy."
According to the academic, he saw a gap in the market for an all-vegan store.
He says: "I knew that shopping was a lot of work and very time-consuming for those wanting to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle.
"I went to supermarkets, green markets, local health food stores, all kinds of places just to get the foods I needed. Then, I had to read all the labels because meat and dairy products get slipped into a lot of foods, even wine! Preservatives too!
"I thought, 'wouldn't it be nice to go to a place where someone else did all the work, where you knew it was 100 percent plant-based and care was taken to select a broad array of super healthy products with some vegan indulgences mixed in?' So I wrote my business plan. It took several years of planning to get to this point."
According to Smith, the outlet is designed to appeal to a wide range of vegans and non-vegans alike, selling a wide range of good 'from raw vegan super healthy foods to kid-friendly Pinkberry vegan frozen yogurt'.
Dr. Smith said: "I still enjoy eating vegan meat and cheese alternatives occasionally and we are going to specialize in these types of vegan products, which are great for people transitioning to a more plant-based lifestyle."
He says products on offer will include 'local vendors as well as national and international purveyors'. In addition, an on-site cafe - The Inika Café - will serve comfort foods as well as Acai bowls, wraps, juices and desserts.
"People just learning about a vegan diet think vegans eat mainly salads," says Dr. Smith. "But nothing could be further from the truth."
The store’s first location is 330 SW 2nd Street in downtown Ft Lauderdale, Florida