The cost of food has risen dramatically over the last few years and as a result there is an ongoing debate as to how people can reduce their shopping bills and save money. One headline that comes up again and again is the claim that fresh produce markets (or farmers’ markets) can be cheaper than some of the big supermarkets.
Of course supermarkets offer convenience – we can get everything we want in one place, plus there are special offers and loyalty rewards to tempt us, so, is it really worth sopping at a farmers’ market?
To help you decide, we’ve compared prices of 9 fresh produce items to see the difference in cost.
Comparing the cost, it appears that even when taking advantage of the special offers available in the supermarket, the fresh produce was 24% cheaper overall than the supermarket goods.
Of course, farmers’ markets don’t just sell fruit and vegetables. Almost anything can be found amid the various stalls, from proper butchers, home-baking stands and those selling dairy products to vendors offering sweets, clothing, make-up and even mobile phones. So savings can be made for all types of purchases.
Each individual saving might only be a few pence per product, but spread over fifty or so items, a weekly family shop quickly adds up – the above saving of £2.96 each week amounts to £153.92 in a year which is the equivalent of buying 51 lattes from a coffee shop.
But saving money isn’t the only benefit from shopping at your local fresh produce market.
Comparing the atmosphere of the supermarket against the fun sense of community at the farmers’ market is eye-opening. A casual stroll around even a crowded market can be a completely different experience to the stress of a packed supermarket.
Interacting with other visitors and with the various stall holders, and even meeting the farmers and producers themselves, can make for a lively experience. And for children the experience can be far more than a simple shopping trip, as it has real educational value. A visit to a local market is a great way for them to try new foods and to learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced. There is the chance for them to practise their maths by adding up the cost of items or you can teach them how to gather the ingredients necessary to make a meal from scratch and there is also the opportunity for them to learn how to negotiate as an added bonus.
Health and Environment
Another significant benefit is that the food you can buy from a local fresh produce market will be fresh, and although not all will be organic, there won’t be any artificial preservatives. The health benefits of this are immeasurable.
In addition, fresh produce markets are regulated to ensure the food sold is all sourced from local suppliers, producers, growers and farmers. You can be certain therefore that what you are eating is environmentally friendly with a minimal carbon footprint. It goes straight from the farmer to you, with no hanging around in transit for days on end.
Supporting the Local Economy
What’s more, by purchasing from local fresh produce markets you will be supporting local farmers and doing your bit to help maintain the local economic cycle.
Changing the way you approach shopping can influence the way you spend money. Each penny counts nowadays and people are struggling to make ends meet financially because of the high cost of living are forever finding ingenious ways to get what they need for less. Creating and sticking to a meal plan is a step in the right direction when it comes to putting a stop to wasting food and money, so if you are lucky enough to have a local farmers’ market in your area why not pop in to get your next weekly set of ingredients and find out if you could save even more money.