Studies: Farmers’ Markets Cheaper Than Grocery Stores
Farmers’ markets are more popular than ever, with the
number of markets doubling over the past decade, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture. There are plenty of reasons given for why consumers go to markets:
quality of produce, support of local trade, etc. But now, if new research is
a reason that could mean trouble for grocery stores — farmers’ markets
A study by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
(NOFA) that tracked produce prices at 10 grocery stores and nine nearby markets
for three-plus months found that when it came to conventional produce, prices
were roughly the same. But, when it came to organics, farmers’ markets
were nearly 39 percent below the supermarkets.
Lower prices at farmers’ markets
comes at a time when consumers are looking to save money with gas and other
commodities that are at or near all-time highs. A growing number of farmers’
markets are looking to broaden their appeal, with many now taking food stamps,
article on The Atlantic’s website pointed to other research that found
markets giving supermarkets a run for the consumer’s money.
Center for Sustainable Agriculture compared prices in four Iowa cities and
found markets were often the same or lower than supermarkets. A price comparison
of 15 items by students at the University of Seattle found markets to be slightly
cheaper than stores.
Jake Robert Claro, a graduate student at Bard College’s
Center for Environmental Policy who conducted the study for NOFA, told The
Atlantic, "It’s promising
to see that, regardless of the region, these studies are holding up. This trend
is going to grow stronger. Maybe that will put the elitist perception to rest."
- Save Money – Shop at the Farmers Market Instead of the Grocery Store
– Eat Drink Better
- The Farmers’ Market Myth – The Atlantic
- Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
- Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
- More farmers markets take food stamps – Star Tribune
Discussion Questions: Do farmers’ markets represent a competitive threat to food retailers’ produce business? How should conventional food stores respond?