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Celebrating the Women of Food Lover’s Market – Mariam Naidoo


Many may know that Access park was where the Food Lover’s Market was born. Brian and Mike Coppin opened the very first Fruit and Veg City in Access Park in 1993. But how much do you know about the women behind it today?

And from day one, Mariam was regularly there in the hustle and bustle of this store. Inside the store was a fresh flower seller and this flower seller was none other than Mariam’s father. Many days, Mariam would accompany her dad to work.

“She is as much a part of the soul of this company, as me, Mike, Brian and everyone else that helped us grow into the huge company that we are today,” says the director, Shaneen Coppin.

Mariam started working as a flower seller at the store and became the store manager in 2014.

Did you have a mentor that you looked up to?

Yes, I look up to Andrew Hepburn, Head of Distribution centres and Dave Hogg, currently the operations director of Fresh Stop but he was a director within Food Lover’s previously when we worked together.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

My store, Access Park is the highest contributor of fruit and veg sales in the entire coastal division. Leading and managing it is my greatest achievement.

What would you like to say to motivate other South African women?

Follow your heart and follow your intuition. Hard work does pay dividends.

What do you worry about and why?

The only thing I worry about is meeting the budgets. We work so hard and give 200% effort consistently, so I worry that our sales can’t always reflect that.

What would your ideal job be?

I’d like to run my own company one day utilizing all the experience I have gained over the years.

Tell me something I don’t know about Food Lover’s?

Food Lover’s has its own roaster in our Dried Fruit For All division. This enables us to produce assorted roasted nuts daily to meet quantities we require nationally.

What’s your favourite colour?


If you were the CEO for the day, what would you like to do?

I’d like to take the day to invest in our staff by taking the time to listen to their needs and welfare concerns, to start a process of increased support for them.

How many butternuts could fit into an old volksie?

I’d say about…200 butternuts?

Describe Food Lover’s Market to a foreigner who has never visited one?

An abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables supported by dedicated teams and departments, creating a theatre of food!

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