Price Differences across Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, and Supermarkets in North Carolina†

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Abstract

Whether direct farmer-to-consumer outlets compete with supermarkets on produce prices remains an empirical question; marketing costs are not consistently higher in one retail channel or the other. This study compared prices of 29 fruits and vegetables across North Carolina farmers' markets, roadside stands, and supermarkets. Larger farmers' markets had higher prices: three fruits and one vegetable were cheaper at a direct outlet, while four vegetables were cheaper at supermarkets. Weighting item prices by consumption share attenuated differences in mean price across outlets. Direct-retail outlets are price competitive and should be considered among other tools to boost fresh fruit and vegetable intake.

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