Murray State University

Poster Title

Studies in Economic Behavior: Study 1: (Jones) Buy Local: Who Shops at Farmers Markets?

Presenter Information

Karen Jones, Murray State University

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Bleak economic news and minimal changes to the job market pose two important questions to Kentuckians – ‘When will things return to normal? Can I do something to affect that outcome?’ Kentucky consumers work hard to save money by shopping hard for the lowest price. Discount chains and non-U.S. suppliers of goods most often provide the lowest prices to consumers. Are consumers ready to reconsider low price as the only criterion for buying decisions? Farmers Markets (FMs) sell primarily locally grown/produced goods in urban, suburban, and rural locations. Previous research indicates customers purchase goods at FMs for different reasons. Some customers like to purchase home grown vegetables (traditional road-side stand customers). Other customers are shopping for specific products such as organically grown or heirloom varieties typically found at FMs. A third type of customer is looking for ‘Made in Kentucky’ products or is practicing a ‘Buy Local’ strategy. While there are a number of successful sellers participating at FMs, aggregately these markets obtain only a fraction of local market share. There may be perceptions that FMs are inconvenient and prices are higher than typical chaingrocery stores. The purpose of this research is to focus on the perceptions of Farmers Market customers and potential/non-customers in order to identify attitudes where education (advertising) may increase the perceived value of shopping at Farmers Markets. Through education, could a change in perception increase ‘Buy Local’ behavior that will benefit local sellers as well as consumers who will enjoy a stronger local economy?.

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Studies in Economic Behavior: Study 1: (Jones) Buy Local: Who Shops at Farmers Markets?

Bleak economic news and minimal changes to the job market pose two important questions to Kentuckians – ‘When will things return to normal? Can I do something to affect that outcome?’ Kentucky consumers work hard to save money by shopping hard for the lowest price. Discount chains and non-U.S. suppliers of goods most often provide the lowest prices to consumers. Are consumers ready to reconsider low price as the only criterion for buying decisions? Farmers Markets (FMs) sell primarily locally grown/produced goods in urban, suburban, and rural locations. Previous research indicates customers purchase goods at FMs for different reasons. Some customers like to purchase home grown vegetables (traditional road-side stand customers). Other customers are shopping for specific products such as organically grown or heirloom varieties typically found at FMs. A third type of customer is looking for ‘Made in Kentucky’ products or is practicing a ‘Buy Local’ strategy. While there are a number of successful sellers participating at FMs, aggregately these markets obtain only a fraction of local market share. There may be perceptions that FMs are inconvenient and prices are higher than typical chaingrocery stores. The purpose of this research is to focus on the perceptions of Farmers Market customers and potential/non-customers in order to identify attitudes where education (advertising) may increase the perceived value of shopping at Farmers Markets. Through education, could a change in perception increase ‘Buy Local’ behavior that will benefit local sellers as well as consumers who will enjoy a stronger local economy?.