This might seem like advertorial but it’s not! The rapid growth of the Food Lover’s Market brand in Harare has been the talk of the town lately, and we wanted to find out why.
The first Food Lover’s store opened in Borrowdale at Sam Levy’s Village in 2010. Since then, their rise to prominence in Harare has been nothing short of meteoric. They opened in Greendale in 2011, in Bulawayo in 2012, and this year they’ve expanded even more. Borrowdale Food Lover’s has now moved into bigger premises in the Village and the company has opened new shops in Glen Lorne and Avondale. They even have a sub-franchise at the Marimba Shopping Centre in Belvedere, showing that they now really are the leading players in the food and retail business.
The official opening of the Avondale branch in September was a huge event with literally thousands of members of the public queuing to get inside. This kind of attention in Harare for the opening of a supermarket is virtually unheard of. So what grabbed everyone’s attention and made Food Lovers such a phenomenon?
Although the brand is a franchise from South Africa’s Food Lovers/Fruit and Veg City, they are a wholly independent Zimbabwean concern. Food Lover’s’ emphasis is on providing the freshest products and the best range at the most competitive prices. They have up to 400 suppliers locally for freshly grown vegetables. Nearly all of the meat in their butchery is from local farmers. Their dairy products – with the exception of some of the more exotic cheeses -are all local. A lot of the fruit is supplied locally, including peaches, strawberries and citrus fruit. Others are imported from the Cape.
All the goods in their bakery section are produced fresh every day. Most of the fish though, apart from our local tilapia and Claremont trout, is imported.
Other than the Avondale and Greendale branches, the stores have coffee shops or cafeterias, so customers can grab a bite or meet with friends. The food is freshly prepared, tasty, healthy, and very reasonably priced.
The Avondale branch has an enticing deli, which is very busy at lunch. Customer Charmaine Peters commended it for the good value. “The food is so so good, and it’s very nice in here. You would think things would be really expensive, but in fact, looking at what I can get for $3 here, I will definitely be back every lunch,” said Peters.
Joshua Dzerumbaira (30) from Marlborough said, “I much prefer shopping at Food Lovers in Borrowdale, even though it means going a bit out of my way. The fruit and veggies are super fresh, the prices are good, and there’s a great selection. There are ready made meals too for when I don’t want to cook or if ZESA is off.”
An essential part of Food Lover’s’ business is developing relationships between management, staff, customers and suppliers. The company employs over 500 staff members so training – whether its customers service, computer literacy or hygiene, health and safety – is an on-going process. Their human resources division is rightfully proud of the fact that some staff have risen through the ranks from being cleaners to influential positions.
Food Lover’s also give back to the community in a number of ways. Their cardboard boxes are collected and recycled, providing employment and helping the environment. Some of their blemished fruit is collected and dried, to help a small business. They contribute food to under-supported intuitions like Fairways Old Age Homes, Runyarara Children’s Home, and the Emerald Hill School for the deaf. They also support other worthy causes, like the Cancer Association, and churches. Finally, some of the food that is past its use-by date is donated to animal sanctuaries like Bally Vaughan and Twala Trust.
Generally it seems that Harare residents welcome Food Lover’s for their prices, quality and innovation on the supermarket scene.
Image: Food Lover’s Avondale
Image Credit: Harry Davies