Evaluation of Local and Non-Local Food Product Sellers
Regarding the comparison of prices of locally grown produce and non-locally grown produce, a study done in Iowa in 2009, published by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, found that the price difference when purchasing commonly bought vegetables (i.e. tomatoes, onions, sweetcorn) in local farm shops, butchers, supermarkets and markets was insignificant.
Although the study is by no means exhaustive, it provides insight and highlights the importance of comparing food prices between locally and non-locally produced food.
Convenience and Challenges
Despite it seeming easy for the majority of people to switch to locally grown produce, the benefits of mass and international produce must be considered. Supermarkets, for example, are well known, often internationally, for their large number of stores across a country or even the globe, which already creates a significant advantage. Tesco owns 6,902 shops across the globe (Tesco PLC, 2016).
Furthermore, supermarkets offer an extensive range of products (groceries, fresh meat and fish, home accessories, hair products, clothes, DVDs etc.) in one place. With the more recent addition of cheap home delivery, customers only grow in number. However, a wealth of customers presents its own challenges, including greater demand, more land and expenses (i.e. waste disposal, employment).
Travelling to local farm shops is not costly in petrol. Farm shops can offer a small range of relevant products, which are more nutritious due to recent harvesting (Klavinski, 2013). It is the scarcity of, or a general obliviousness towards, local farm shops within proximity which present local farm businesses with a great challenge.
Lack of Relevant Studies
Studies hold great significance because they provide important facts which can influence decisions. Comparative studies of food bought locally and non-locally are scarce, but with reason - the costs involved in a large-scale comparative study of locally and non-locally bought food produce would be exceptional; there are not only food costs to consider but also travel expenses and the demanding cost of time.
Further studies should be carried out to assess the consequences involved with shopping for local and non-local produce in terms of cost, affordability and availability (Pirog and McCann, 2009).
Klavinski, R. (2013). 7 benefits of eating local foods. Michigan State University Extension. Available at: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/7_benefits_of_eating_local_foods. Accessed: 29/08/16.
Pirog, R. and McCann, N. (2009). Is Local Food More Expensive? A Consumer Price Perspective on Local and Non-Local Foods Purchased in Iowa. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
Tesco PLC (2016). About us - key facts. Available at: https://www.tescoplc.com/about-us/key-facts/. Accessed: 29/08/16.
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