I am looking for sources of information on retail food prices, hopefully broken down to a metropolitan scale. I expect there is some agency that aggregates this kind of data, but thought I would ask the community here if anyone knew, before I spent a bunch of time digging for it myself
Trying to build some sense of what we might be looking at as we try to market homestead products and try to get some underpinnings for something resembling a business plan.
Thanks in advance.
One observation I can suggest is try to find information on organic and specialty markets. Place like the farmers market, food coops, etc. These nich food markets are more likely to be more profitable for the permaculturist. Most food is now a commodity. Google the case of WalMart and Valsic pickles. They turned a name brand into a commodity. The goal being make the consumer believe any pickle is just as good as another. That way they can price shop for the cheapest pickle to sell.
The Directory lists markets that feature two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location. Maintained by the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Directory is designed to provide consumers with convenient access to information about farmers market listings to include: market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, accepted forms of payment, and more.
I know the Vlasic case. Wal-Mart was selling a gallon jar for less than a quart in regular groceries. Nearly bankrupted Vlasic and would not let them out of the contract. And yes, small scale producers need to be direct marketing as much as possible.
I just need to come up with some rational basis for projections and a rough idea of where to enter the markets with our product when we get there.
I've thought before about setting up a farm stand. My intuition (I haven't tested this) is that people will respond well to a sign that says, "SAME PRICE AS MEIJER ORGANIC AND WAY BETTER. GROWN RIGHT OVER THERE ->"
In Michigan, Meijer is the grocery store that's for people who don't like Walmart, but don't want to think about it hard enough to find a CSA or farmer's market. It's the good store, somehow. Mostly because it's not Walmart. I guess.
In any case, everybody knows Meijer and more or less trusts them. Meijer doesn't get picketed.
If you want to write a short list of what you think you might grow, I'll go the Jackson Meijer and check prices for you. You can count on those to be minimum retail prices. Absolutely everybody will be willing to give you at least as much for your produce as Meijer organic, if you're telling them anything about the quality of your goods.
And that should represent a decent real-world, achievable price to make plans around. (And then maybe you can do better even than that. )
When I was creating my business plan, I pulled the wholesale organic prices (US source when available) for Atlanta and included them in my calculations with the caveat that they were likely underestimates since I plan to market directly to the consumer and cut out the middleman. Then I recorded prices for on a few trips to various farmers markets to test that assumption, and found it was generally true. Since I'd rather have underestimates of prices than overestimates, I've kept the lower numbers - we'll see how that works out once I get some land and start growing things!
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