Eating Local: A Cost Analysis Of Farmers’ Market Vs. Store-Bought Foods In Asheville, North Carolina

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Halcyon Garrett, Student (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Leah Matthews

Abstract: In Asheville North Carolina, farmers’ markets are so popular they can be found nearly every day of the week throughout the growing season. Purchasing food from a farmers’ market provides the community with a higher economic return than purchasing foods at a grocery store or supermarket, and many consumers derive intrinsic value from the knowledge that they are supporting a community member instead of a chain. In Asheville specifically, there exists a large push to “Buy Local” and support local businesses. However, little research has been done within thearea comparing the actual cost difference between foods purchased at a farmers’ market and foods bought at a store. In this study I compare the price of a farmers’ market basket to the same basket purchased at a store to determine theactual price difference. This study finds that local foods cost 3% less, on average, than store-bought foods when comparing farmers’ market foods to certified organic or locally-sourced foods found in stores. When compared to all foods found in stores, including foods produced using conventional farming methods, farmers’ market foods were found to cost 41% higher on average. My findings suggest that an economic incentive to shop at a farmers market does exist for consumers who prefer either locally-grown or certified organic foods, while consumers who do nothave specific preferences would save money by purchasing their foods at a grocery store. These findings also suggest that consumers who shop at farmers’ markets are willing to pay up to 41% more for the benefits that farmers’ marketsprovide.

Additional Information

UNC Asheville - Journal of Undergraduate Research
Language: English
Date: 2014
farmers market, supermarket, food prices, Asheville, North Carolina, grocery store

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