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From Humble Beginnings

From humble beginnings, come great things.

From a single fruit and vegetables store to the largest privately owned independent food retail group in Africa, Food Lover’s Market this year celebrates 25 years of fresh produce excellence. More than 125 Food Lover’s Market stores later, the group today boasts stores in South Africa, African Sub-Saharan countries and Mauritius and counts its more than 17 000 colleagues in all of its 575 stores across all the brands, as part of the Food Lover’s Market family.

When Brian and Michael Coppin first opened Fruit & Veg City in Access Park, they stripped, painted and merchandised the store themselves, with the help of friends and family. This anecdote best illustrates the work ethic of the Coppin brothers and their will to succeed, despite their humble beginnings.

“From the onset, we strove to ensure that we cultivated strong relationships with local farmers. This would become the foundation on which the company was built – with the focus of both Fruit & Veg City and Food Lover’s Market being on delighting our customers with real fresh produces, real value and real people. Today, we still have wonderful relationships with most of those farmers and our Food Lover’s Market family continues to grow as we grow,” says Brian Coppin, CEO of Food Lover’s Market.

“While our original core business was fruit and vegetables, in setting out to offer our customers an amazing shopping experience, Fruit and Veg City evolved into what we have today – Food Lover’s Market, a theatre of food that boasts bakery, grocery, butchery and deli foods, as well as health and wellness departments.”

Food Lover’s Market has enjoyed many great moments in the last 25 years. These include the launch of the c-store juggernaut FreshStop at Caltex which currently sports over 270 stores, FVC International – South Africa’s fastest growing export business, Market Liquors, – a convenience liquor offering and the most exciting artisan coffee brand in South Africa, Seattle Coffee Company. With its ever-evolving style, the brand recently launched its Somerset West store which sets a new benchmark in innovation, value and an experiential customer shopping experience. The trendy design of the store – which includes energy saving technologies – places a large focus on children which led to the inclusion of in-store branding geared at getting children excited about fresh produce and healthier foods.

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe that many of the world’s biggest companies began in a similar way; as just an ambitious dream. For my brother and I, it is our love of retail and the desire to offer something different – but an offering that is always priced well – that still inspires us every single day,” continues Coppin.

The remarkable retail success story of Food Lover’s Market has always been based on maintaining a market leadership position in fresh produce retail. At the heart of the business is a keen desire to be the best green grocers, butchers, cheesemongers and fishmongers. To that end, the brand has ensured its success story by always striving to provide customers with the best possible customer shopping experience.

“Taking that first step is not always remembered, but to us it feels like yesterday. We remember the thrill of making new friends and partners as we held onto our dream, often wondering if we would achieve what we set out to do but we never gave up. We recall opening our first store and still feel the excitement and expectation as we watched our sign set in place. We want to thank South Africans for 25 years of friendship, you’ve seen us grow and it’s really all because of you,” concludes Coppin.

Food Lover’s Market countrywide will celebrate the occasion on the 28th February with great R25 deals from 26 February – 4 March 2018 and a free cake giveaway.

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