May 2, 2016
Study: Vermont farmers market products affordably priced

Commonly purchased foods can be affordably priced at Vermont farmers’ markets, a study by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) found. vermontag

Last year, VAAFM conducted a pilot research project to address the consumer perception that farmers’ markets are too expensive and determine whether or not local products sold at farmers’ markets are indeed more expensive. The study concluded that farmers’ markets are a good option for consumers whose purchasing decisions are driven by price as well as local and/or organic attributes, according to VAAFM.

In August 2015, VAAFM gathered pricing information on more than fifty local products found at thirteen farmers’ markets across the state and compared those prices to the price of similar products sold at five different retail establishments in Central Vermont, including grocery stores and gas stations. The products reviewed in this study included a wide cross-section of commonly purchased foods, including organic and non-organic produce, meats and proteins, and local products.

The results of the pilot study determine that commonly purchased foods can be affordably priced at farmers’ markets. Findings from “A Comparison Study of Product Pricing at Vermont Farmers’ Markets and Retail Establishments” include:

  • 92 percent of certified organic produce available at farmers’ markets is competitively priced (within a 10 percent price range) with the same items found at retail stores.
  • Local meats and proteins available at farmers’ markets are also competitively priced with retail establishments more than 57 percent of the time.
  • When comparing local products, farmers’ market prices are competitive a majority of the time, and, in some cases, local products available at farmers’ markets are actually less expensive than the same local products available at retail establishments.
  • Local, certified-organic products available at farmers’ markets are almost always (89 percent of the time) competitively priced with the same products available at retail establishments.

The purpose of this study is to guide consumers in making informed food choices based on accurate pricing data and awareness of local and organic options, the agency said.

Over the next two years, VAAFM, in partnership with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, will work to expand on the existing research to complete a comprehensive state-wide product price comparison study.

For access to the price comparison resource “A Comparison Study of Product Pricing at Vermont Farmers’ Markets and Retail Establishments”, visit the Vermont Agency of Agriculture webpage.


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