Supermarkets capitalise on farmers markets
Sat, 14 Jul 2012 6:12p.m.
By Jerram Watts
Farmers markets are growing increasingly frustrated with supermarket chains running imitation markets on weekends.
Farmers Markets New Zealand says supermarkets are trying to capitalise on the success and community feel of genuine markets.
In Lower Hutt, New World Naenae owner Kevin "Butch" Phelan has been running Saturday-morning markets since November last year.
Carrots are 79 cents a kilogram and broccoli is $1.79 a head – prices are certainly competitive.
“It’s the best thing since sliced bread,” says Naenae shopper Jill Durrant. “It’s wonderful for Naenae to have the markets like this.”
But it's the use of the term "market" that annoys genuine farmers market vendors and the author of a book about food prepared with homegrown produce.
“They're trying to leverage off the lovely sociability and community feel you get from a genuine market, but they're not selling the genuine product,” says author Christine Dann.
Ms Dann says genuine vendors - like certain ones in Grey Lynn, Auckland - know their produce better than the supermarkets, because it's locally grown.
“You can't really trust the food because you don't have a relationship with the person who grew it and you can't ask any questions about it,” says the author.
“We've owned three Four Squares over the years and I’ve been produce boy from day one, so I have got a real interest in produce,” says Mr Phelan.
Chris Fortune of the Farmers Markets Association says the supermarkets are trading off the good name farmers markets have cultivated.
“Leave the farmers markets to all the real food producers and supermarkets are good for all those other things that people want,” says Mr Fortune.
“We're certainly not aiming to compete,” says Mr Phelan. “We're looking after our local customers.”
More than food, Mr Fortune says true farmers markets are an “experience”.
“When was the last time you had fun at the supermarket? Farmers markets are all about experience, meeting people, socialising [and] networking,” he says.
Nevertheless, the farmers markets are going to have to put up with the competition from supermarkets. An attempt to trademark the term “farmers markets” three years ago was rejected by the Ministry of Economic Development.
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21/11/2012 4:39:47 p.m.
robert vigil wrote:
NZ Plastic Aviation
18/07/2012 10:44:10 a.m.
Charlotte Gordon wrote:
You're right, carpark sales are not new. And what you didn't see in that clip at Grey Lynn Farmers Market is that most of the market is actually happening inside. Plus I doubt many pak 'n saves offer beer making classes or live music. Or the chance to talk to the person who made, caught or grew what your your buying.
Farmers Markets can be competitive with supermarkets in many ways, not just price. Produce that was picked only hours before and isn't covered in chemicals will stay fresher and probably be better for your health.
Some markets are unscrupulous about letting in on-sellers but at our market we work hard to make sure this doesn't happen. Talking to growers, checking out their farms etc. So we're not all the same, but we certainly are quite different from a supermarket.
16/07/2012 9:45:11 a.m.
Carpark sales are not new.Go into a Pak-n-sav and it doesn't look much different from that normally - expect its under cover and keeps shoppers dry even with wet weather!If someone is selling, they need to be competitive. Live with it.Farmers Markets can still be profitable as it still cuts out the middleman. In this way the farmers markets should never disappear if they are not too greedy. Oh wait, we have already those on farmers markets who are selling produce who didn't grow it, so are no real difference from supermarkets - now those middlemen may feel threatened by supermarkets!
15/07/2012 10:44:02 a.m.
This is an example of the saying, "If you can't beat them, join them". Remember efforts by supermarket chains to shut down farmers' markets on health grounds a couple of years ago? Obviously that didn't work, so they are trying a new tactic.
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