Vincent Vegetarian Food will launch its next venture onto the Fitzroy scene this August offering chefs and home cooks alike a comprehensive vegan supermarket and standing room café under one roof: Vincent's Marketplace. Serving a variety of vegan treats the café at Vincent's Marketplace will offer St. Ali coffee, fit for the most discerning of bean aficionados.
The new space is a full-service vegan enterprise – popping up in the perfect location with many of their current clients located in Fitzroy and surrounding suburbs, all within walking distance of the new marketplace. Vincent, a lifelong vegetarian, led the charge in plant-based diets when he migrated to Australia from Singapore in 1989 and saw a lack of plant-based products for sale on Australian supermarket shelves.
Considered the godfather of vegetarian and plant-based diets in Melbourne, Vincent opened his Footscray vegetarian superstore, Vincent Vegetarian Food, in 1996. Back then, his customers were a niche section of the community who ate a vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diet for personal or cultural reasons. Fast forward twenty-three years and that customer base has grown exponentially as global trends see an increasing number of consumers turning away from meat and animal products, overwhelmingly citing environmental and moral motivations.
Vincent's son, Daniel, an aerospace engineer, left his job three years ago to help with the growing family business. Vincent's Marketplace is the latest project in the family's plant-based retail, wholesale, food service and manufacturing business. Vincent's Marketplace is a modern take on the Footscray original, a supermarket with a standing-only café serving customers vegan pastries from Weirdoughs and coffee from specialty roaster St. Ali, while they shop for tasty plantbased goods to take home.
The team at Vincent's travel frequently in search of new and exciting products, importing goods that are seldom found elsewhere in Melbourne as well as a range of Vincent's own products that are exclusive to the store. Vegan Fried Chicken, Chicken Nuggets, Bacon, Party Food (Springrolls, Satays) and Yum Cha Items (Dumplings, Buns).
Address: 379 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Monday-Friday: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Monday-Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Sunday: 10am - 5pm
Question: What is Vincent's Marketplace?
Daniel Ng: Vincent's Marketplace is an extension of Vincent Vegetarian Food, a company Vincent Ng founded in 1996. It is a concept store for us with an integrated coffee bar, to showcase all our plant-based products and specialty coffee, cakes and pastries from local suppliers such as St Ali, Mahadevas Kitchen and Weirdoughs.
Question: How did you find yourself in the role of running Vincent's Marketplace?
Daniel Ng: It was a role that was slowly assumed as I became more involved in the company from my high school to university days.
Question: What's a typical day like for you at Vincent's Marketplace?
Daniel Ng: I would usually spend the mornings visiting our store and wholesale customers, then head to the office after lunch to take care of administrative tasks.
Question: Can you talk us through the progression from Vincent Vegetarian Food to Vincent's Marketplace?
Daniel Ng: Vincent's Marketplace has always been a concept that was in our mind. The idea is to create a new shopping experience for our customers who may or may not be plant-based. We want to create a space that engages people to come in and see what we have to offer.
Question: What advice do you have Australians hoping to slowly transition to a plant-based diet?
Daniel Ng: To begin by slowly changing a meal or two each week. Most people would realize that it's not so difficult and that they might be eating a plant-based meal a few times a week already. Another way would also be to change the milk we use in our coffee to a plant-based milk. It's not hard to get used to. I personally wouldn't go back from soy and oat milks.
Question: What's next for you and Vincent's Marketplace?
Daniel Ng: We are always searching for new products for our customers and looking for opportunities to open in other parts of Australia.
Interview by Brooke Hunter