Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Growth of farmers' markets

From the Telegraph: The phenomenon of farmers' markets – the "real food" movement that has grown from nothing in seven years – is poised to make the break into the mainstream, according to producers....According to research from Farma, households spent £1.5 million last year in Britain's 4,000 farm shops and another £120 million in farmers' markets. Around a third of people have used a farmers' market or food shop in the last 12 months.

This is interesting because it proves that the growth of nasty, evil, supermarkets does not cause the displacement or crowding out of nice farmers' markets.
Over the last seven years, both farmers' and super markets have grown considerably. However, £121,500,000 pales beside the £33,557,000,000 spent last year at Tesco alone. High growth rates are not without significance, but pretty much any growth from nothing over a seven year period is probably going to beat Tesco's rates, even if Tesco makes as much in a week or so as farmers' markets do in a year.

I hope that the farmers' markets continue to grow and improve the quality and range of produce on offer, but it will take a very long time for them to come anywhere near Tesco, and they still remain the preserve of the relatively wealthy few.

2 Comments:

Blogger Stephen said...

the preserve of the relatively wealthy fewThis is too true. I shop at the Wimbledon Park market, and prices there are outrageous, with a very few exceptions.

I think there's a weakness in the farmers market movement in the UK. The farmers who supply our markets, whilst selling excellent stuff in general, feel the need to put their prices up to or beyond supermarket prices.

In the media, farmers complain loudly that it's the supermarkets, not they, that take the lion's share of the value-add in the price between the farm gate and the supermarket trolley. I read that to suggest that the farmers ought to be able to bring this stuff to market for less, and in the process grow their own market share and the amount of additional value they capture.

But our farmers seem to be happy with high prices - it provides a ceiling under which they are happy to trade. The farmers are doing nothing to dismantle the system as it stands.

I go out of my way to the market because I believe the quality is there and I really do want to shop with the seasons, but I can understand why others don't.

Stephen
www.weboughtthefarm.com

18 November 2004 at 13:11  
Blogger Stephen said...

the preserve of the relatively wealthy fewThis is too true. I shop at the Wimbledon Park market, and prices there are outrageous, with a very few exceptions.

I think there's a weakness in the farmers market movement in the UK. The farmers who supply our markets, whilst selling excellent stuff in general, feel the need to put their prices up to or beyond supermarket prices.

In the media, farmers complain loudly that it's the supermarkets, not they, that take the lion's share of the value-add in the price between the farm gate and the supermarket trolley. I read that to suggest that the farmers ought to be able to bring this stuff to market for less, and in the process grow their own market share and the amount of additional value they capture.

But our farmers seem to be happy with high prices - it provides a ceiling under which they are happy to trade. The farmers are doing nothing to dismantle the system as it stands.

I go out of my way to the market because I believe the quality is there and I really do want to shop with the seasons, but I can understand why others don't.

Stephen
www.weboughtthefarm.com

18 November 2004 at 13:13  

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