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From humble beginnings to South Africa’s largest privately owned retailer – Food Lover’s Market celebrates 30 years.


From a single fruit and vegetable store in Access Park to a business that includes one-stop-shop Food Lover’s Market stores, c-store juggernaut FreshStop at CaltexFVC InternationalDiamond’s Discount LiquorMarket LiquorsFood Lover’s Eatery and the most exciting artisan coffee brand in South Africa – Seattle Coffee Company, this March Food Lover’s Market celebrates 30 years as South Africa’s largest privately owned retailer.

“This 30-year milestone offers us a great opportunity to reflect on our history as a business and recognise the many people who have been part of our success over the past 30 years,” said Brian Coppin, CEO of the Food Lover’s Market Group.

“Few people remember the first steps of starting a business, but it feels like yesterday to us. We remember the thrill of working alongside family, new friends and partners to open that first store in Access Park in Cape Town. We held onto our dream, often wondering if we would achieve what we set out to do, but we never gave up.”

A family affair

From the onset, it was a family affair. Brian and Mike Coppin opened Fruit & Veg City in Access Park in 1993, stripping, painting and merchandising the store themselves, with the help of friends and family.

From opening a single store with a team of six colleagues, the Food Lover’s Market Group now boasts 17 000 team members across the entire business.

Some early team members are still working in the business, having grown into other roles as the company expanded. “Our children grew up in the business, and it is truly gratifying seeing the next generation working in the business, creating their own legacies,” says Coppin.

A drive to be the best store in the community

“Our philosophy is always to ensure we have the best store in the community – we’ve thought long and hard about what it takes to do this in the current economic climate and have realised that it’s about offering a ‘whole’ shopping experience. It’s not just about theatre – although we are the best at creating that visual appeal in our stores. It also supports the community by offering value, quality, and choice.”

While Fruit & Veg City is the origin of the business, today, Food Lover’s Market has evolved into a modern retail store with all the experiential elements of a theatre-of-food – which includes gourmet butcheries, delis, grocery and health and wellness departments.

The business continues to expand, and in the latter part of 2022, the brand opened its highly-anticipated Bothasig store to a positive response from the local community. This was closely followed by the refurbishments of Food Lover’s Market Weskus Mall and KZN stores in La Lucia, Ballito and Crescent. A significant national expansion is on the cards in the next few years.

These new-generation Food Lover’s Market stores offer customers a unique one-stop shopping experience. As the retailer has always fostered excellent supplier relationships, they can provide a wide range of quality products at fantastic prices. Says Coppin,” Whether we end up with 100 or 200 stores, they have to be the best stores in the community, and that is what we are trying to target.”

Living the Earth Lover’s values

Living the business’s core values requires a holistic approach, and in 2017 Food Lover’s Market established Earth Lovers – a division dedicated to building a company that incorporates social and environmental sustainability in everything the business does. To this end, the Food Lover’s Market Group is committed to creating a sustainable business model for years to come. This includes building stores that are energy efficient with LED lighting and energy-efficient refrigeration, as well as waste minimisation processes. The retailer is also committed to reducing waste to landfill, and stores are continually looking at more efficient packaging and recycling opportunities – having been the first South African retailer to ban plastic bags at till points.

More than an ambitious dream

“More than 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 well-priced and of great quality – still inspires us daily.”

Coppin concludes, “From our family to yours, it’s been a labour of love for 30 years, and we want to thank everyone in our business, our customers and our suppliers – you’ve seen us grow, and it’s all because of you.”

More information about the incredible 30-year journey is available at, and customers are encouraged to visit Food Lover’s Market stores nationwide to enjoy the specials and in-store festivities.

The Food Lover’s Market Group comprises of

Food Lover’s Market, Food Lover’s Eatery, FreshStop at Caltex, Seattle Coffee Company, Diamond’s Discount Liquor, Market Liquors and FVC International

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