the forces of the market place will always dictate the
movement of money and allocation. what i have always
heard from produce managers is the will always buy
whatever they can from the "locals," but couldn't
maintain adequate supply at the competitive price the
here in missouri, it;s often easier for them to plan
and allocate for the future, by contracting through
distribution in colorado or california. they can plan
ahead and know for sure they are going to have the
organic potatoes when and for what price they will
need them. for them it's more efficient and creates
better returns for the stores as a whole.
now IF the consumer started demanding locally grown
produce to be in their store ... if the consumer's
perception were to change ... the market will follow.
i have seen this happen. i know it's slower and
spottier than we would like, but it is a start and it
can be done.
one thing i know for sure: of we don't, big
agri-business will. that's what i am trying to
now that's a cold brisk walk back through the basics
of economics, but that is the way it is and will
always be. trite? you bet. hackneyed? sure, but
knowing that, why it is this way, empowers all to make
more informed and better choices whether we're buying
grain to grind and make your own bread, or selling
call options on metric tons of number three red wheat
to the pacific rim.
now i know the latter has little to do with locally
grown and socially responsible food systems, but the
knowledge may allow all to capture potentials at the
margins, then as things evolve and mature, then to be
able to "see," or "know" better what may occur.
this allows for more stability with strength in the
market and would afford more allocation for the things
we really want to accomplish. we gotta make 'em want
it; that goes for the consumer and the marketer.
hey, i know no one wants to hammer around on econ 101,
or from what i have seen, really sink the 'ol choppers
into the marketing. no one wants to have to "sell"
in a perfect world, the systems we propose would not
only be desirable industry standards, but would be so
natural and ingrained their would be no need for
we are working with the perception of a consumer who
just wants, safe and cheap. but those are subjective
terms that are being redefined. couple that with a
consumer that is more affluent, educated and informed
and you've got the change and it will be sustainable
IF WE get and stay in front of this.
the thing about stores like fresh fields, is they know
the market for food is highly dynamic on the consumer
side. that's why they offer "conventional," "natural"
and "organic" product. choice and perception. they
cater to so many different consumers because they
capture the margin on every potential purchase.
if the consumer wants fresh, locally grown, organic
strawberries, but could really care less about how
thier peanut butter is made, f.f's is there with both
products and more often than not, can probably create
and capture a slightly higher margin for same, because
the consumer perceives the exchange, going to one
store for ALL the specific/generic things they desire
vs. a slightly higher price over super sell, or
mega-food, as worth the extra time and money.
the stores are staffed very well too and the people
are trained/informed to answer, or get answers for an
inquisitive and concerned eater/shopper.
that's why the folks drive the extra miles to spend
more money, because they perceive the store to be
supplying what they want. the store itself is a
testimonial to the power of market differentiation,
which by the way is just another way to say "value
added." if i think it's better; it is better and i'll
drive all day to spend more money to shop there.
locally grown is better in my book. but if the
consumer isn't willing to pay the differential and
their demand remains, there will be some supply at
some price that will move into the viod.
i'm for getting more of the food dollar into the
grower's pocket in any way, shape or form. as a kid,
i'm from missouri wine country, we would sell our
organic produce right on the interstate, I-44. this
practice is tolerated in the state because the
citizens want it this way.
when the highway patrol put up "emergency stopping
only" signs, we thought we were bust. but the people
would just stop anyway, throw up their hoods and turn
on their emergency flashers before coming down the
median to collect their food.
mega ag may be trying to put up obstacles to the
change the consumer wants, but they won't for long.
they too are on the cusp and are eyeing this market
more and more and more ...
--- Steve Groff <email@example.com> wrote:
> john flaim wrote:
> > if any of you ever get the chance to visit a
> > called fresh fields(?) in the washington d.c.
> > please check them out.
> I sold some of my produce to Fresh Fields stores in
> Philadelphia this past
> year. It was an interesting experiance. I was really
> impressed by their stores
> when I visted b4 the season.
> But I couldn't corner the tomato market because my
> tomatoes were not "Jersey
> Fresh". I couldn't get the sweet corn market because
> my corn was too high
> priced- "we can get it cheaper from Georgia" was the
> answer. (local didn't
> seem to be important in this case) Then they wanted
> all the pumpkins I could
> give them in the fall. What surprised me was that
> "local" was not a high
> priority with Fresh Fields. This is similar to what
> I"ve experianced with most
> chain stores. I now sell most of my produce to
> "Locally" owned stores who
> appreciate the "local" aspect the best.
> Steve Groff
> "Enhancing the Environment"
> Cedar Meadow Farm
> 679 Hilldale Road
> Holtwood, PA 17532 USA
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