Consumers willing to pay more for locally grown apples

Sep 20, 2010

A 2008 study found that organic apples represented 4.6% of total apple sales in the United States, up from 3.5% in 2007. In Vermont, apples have been the most important fruit crop for many years, playing an important role in the state's economy—so important, in fact, that apples were named the state's official fruit in 1999. Vermont apple growers, facing a host of challenges such as increasing production costs and intensifying competition from imported apples, are looking for ways to succeed in the emerging organic food market.

Qingbin Wang and Robert Parsons from the University of Vermont's Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and Junjie Sun from the U.S. Department of the Treasury collaborated on a research study to assess consumer valuation of "major apple attributes", especially ''locally grown'' and ''organic,'' and to examine the differences in preferences between consumers who had purchased and consumers who had not. The study, published in a recent issue of , contains practical information that may help guide apple production and marketing decisions.

Of the nearly 64% of the survey respondents who said they had purchased organic food, the average household expenditure on organic food was $69.30, or 19.9% of their average monthly food expense. "This data suggests that Vermont is likely one of the leading states in organic in the country", noted the team. Data also indicated that most organic food consumers purchased their organic products from supermarkets (66.9%), farmers' markets (51.9%), natural food stores (50.2%) and food cooperatives (44%)—information that may be encouraging for small producers who are not able to sell their products through supermarkets because of quantity and other restrictions.

The research found "significant differences in preferences" between respondents who had purchased organic food and respondents who had not purchased organic food, but both groups showed a strong preference for local (Vermont) apples compared with apples from other regions. The survey results also indicated that many consumers, especially people who had purchased organic food, are willing to pay significantly more for organic apples produced locally and certified by the Northeast Organic Farming Association. "This is important information for both organic and conventional apple growers in Vermont, showing that if they market their apples as Vermont-grown, they may be able to sell them at higher prices", concluded the scientists.

Explore further: No silver bullet: Study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: hortsci.ashspublications.org/c… nt/abstract/45/3/376

Provided by American Society for Horticultural Science

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

One bad apple: Consumers prefer perfect produce

Dec 03, 2007

A research study published in the October 2007 issue of HortScience found that consumers don't like blemishes—on apples, that is. The study of consumer values led by Chengyan Yue, PhD, Assistant Professor of Hor ...

Will organic fruit, vegetables get cheaper soon?

Aug 26, 2010

Many grocery stores now carry at least some types of organic fruit and vegetables, thanks to the growing demand for these products that are viewed as more environmentally friendly and safer to eat than other produce. From ...

Oxygen trick could see organic costs tumble

Jun 11, 2007

A simple, cheap treatment using just oxygen could allow growers to store organic produce for longer and go a long way towards reducing the price of organic fruit and vegetables, reports Lisa Richards in Chemistry & Industry.

Garden birds shun organic

May 18, 2010

The nutritional benefits of organic food have been called into question by new research which shows wild garden birds prefer conventional seed to that which has been organically- grown.

The future of organic ornamental plants

Dec 11, 2009

Whether plants are grown for food or ornamental use, conventional agricultural production methods have the same environmental impact. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers can find their way into ...

Recommended for you

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

4 hours ago

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Combating bullying in New Zealand

7 hours ago

Victoria University of Wellington's Accent Learning is rolling out a new bullying prevention programme for schools—a first for the Southern Hemisphere.

Why has Halloween infiltrated Australian culture?

9 hours ago

Halloween appears to have infiltrated Australian culture, and according to a University of Adelaide researcher, the reason for its increasing popularity could run much deeper than Americanisation.

The hidden world of labor trafficking

10 hours ago

When it comes to human trafficking, we often hear about victims being kidnapped or violently taken from their homes. But what about people who are forced into labor in the U.S.?

User comments : 0