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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Farm Shops across the UK ……………………………………………………………………………………..9
Figure 2: Interview Questions…………………………………………………………………………………………….19
Figure 3: Reason for Buying at Farm Shops Charleton Fruit Farm……………………………………….20
Across the world health and eating habits are changing. Consumers are becoming more aware of what they are eating and where they are buying it from. Fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list as they are more valuable when they are fresh and have little to no additives or preservatives. To get this guarantee the consumer is best to buy direct from local farms than going and buying from supermarket shelves. This dissertation was out to establish the concerns and consumers’ trends and choices of the population of Angus in Scotland. The hypothesis for the study was to establish if farm shops can be an alternative food market to supermarkets in Angus. The case study conducted analysis from two farm shops in Angus with 100 consumers being requested to fill in questionnaires and 50 consumers being asked interview questions. The analysis that came from the case study of both farm shops and the general public on the streets of Forfar revealed that 92% of consumers have the opinion that the quality of the food purchased is a factor when buying whilst 72% of consumers prefer to buy from farm shops. The dissertation hypothesis was confident as the study showed that people are embracing the idea of farm shops more for fresh food and for the sake of building their local economy.
Farmers who run farm shops have more power and gain more profit compared to those that sell through the distribution chain to supermarkets. The intermediaries in the chain of food distribution exist at the cost of both the farmers and the consumers. Countries investing and buying from their local farms end up having a stronger economy compared to countries filled with few monopolies running chains of supermarkets to distribute their agricultural produce.
The body requires vitamins and minerals which can be found in fruits and vegetables. To benefit from these vitamins and minerals the fruits and vegetables are best to be fresh. For the consumer to get the freshest fruit and vegetables they have to buy from the farm and cut out the distribution time to supermarkets. Farm shops exist, and according to a study in the US, findings show that the number of farmers’ markets rose sharply from 1755 to 7175 from 1994 to 2011. Health is a major factor of concern for consumers all around the world. There are added health risks in relation to improperly processed foods which is a main market for the supermarkets, the desire to provide a more healthy option for the market becomes a central concern for health enthusiasts (Holloway, et al.,2000). Market campaigns are stating that the safest option for buying fruits and vegetables is to buy straight from the farm produce that are being sold by the farmers. Within Angus, Scotland buying from the farmers themselves is becoming more of an option and health and market enthusiasts are aiming to support the organic farming market as this promotes a much healthier lifestyle of eating and living.
The direction of this dissertation is to analyse the progression in the supply chain of the farm produce in Angus, Scotland. Along with the supply chain trends it will also look at showing the opportunity for farmers to start up and run their own farm shop looking at the benefits of this distribution method compared to placing their produce in the long chain of distribution that is being influenced by a hand full of monopoly companies that dominate the supermarket segment. Through this research, an investigation into what the consumer bargains for from the farm shops in which they will be best identified. The research aims to provide farmers with a detailed structure of what the consumers’ needs and wants are that should be considered when creating an alternative market. What further accounts for the importance of this research is the insistence it has in the promoting health and directive economic boost to local growers in the area concerned (Biuso,2007).
Consumers have come up with the change. Consumers are becoming more health conscious and know the benefits that come with choosing the correct eating habits. Producers and consumers have to meet regularly to have an understanding of the changing wants and needs of the consumer. Across the world consumers prefer to buy fruits and vegetables from farms directly for multiple reasons. The first being the consumer can find out what they need to know about the product that they are purchasing. Consumers’ are more health conscious about what chemicals are being put on the products through the farming process. The second reason being that fruits and vegetables have to go through a long chain of distribution to reach the supermarkets where buying directly from farms allows the product to be fresher. Buying from on farm leaves the farmer with more profit in his pocket instead of the profit largely being taken from the supermarket companies who are only selling the products not having any of the agricultural risks that involved in the procedure. Consumers buying goods locally feel more obligated to strengthen their economy through empowering their farmers.
The existence of health issues that are on the increase due to poor food choices, these being processed and preserved for the convenience of being immediately consumed. There is a need for fresher food resources to become available to the consumer. Through studies and observations consumers who regularly choose the fresh produce option with fruit and vegetables pay less for their produce and are able to lead a heathier lifestyle through not falling ill and maintaining a better health status.
With the added benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables thus being the reason many consumers are now buying from farms directly instead of large supermarket chains. Putting farm growers at the front line of such health campaign makes it more efficient to get the attention of the local buyers (Romanieko, et al., 2001). A question that has to be asked is, would farms in the local area be able to supply the amount of produce needed to overtake the supermarkets share with the added imported produce within Angus, Scotland. What specific demands does the market have from the growers? What considerations should the producers give attention to in providing what the market requires and expects from them?
- To investigate what motivated the consumer when buying from a farm shop
- To examine whether disposable income influences food buying habits.
- To determine whether a consumer’s place of residence affect food buying habits.
- To investigate what would change consumers buying habits to start using farm shop.
- To examine whether there is a market for more farm stores and fresh produce in Angus.
- What is the motivation of biying from food stores?
- Does the consumer’s disposable income influence their food buying habits?
- Does a consumers residential are change their food shopping choices?
- What would make consumers start buying from food shops?
- Is there room for more farm shops in Angus. Scotland?
The objective of the research to be carried out is to investigate whether farm shops can be an alternative to food outlets in Angus, Scotland.
There is a market for farm shops to be an alternative to food outlets in Angus, Scotland.
The food production industry had become a major concern for the Scottish government and the rest of the world. Research has taken an increase into the industry. Farm shops are a relatively new trend in the agricultural sector. According to the Natural Marketing Institute, 71% of French, Spanish and British consumers reported that they were buying directly from the farmers. Friends of the Earth Europe also conducted a survey across Europe, which indicated the trend of more consumers supporting their local producers. With the increase in direct selling more job opportunities are being created unlike in the major supermarkets where they are trying to reduce staffing. It has been recorded that local suppliers use more than 6500 people for every million dollars worth of sales. Supermarket chains are on the opposite end of the scale on employing three employees for every million dollars generated. This is a staggering difference and indicates that a country should support small local food outlets to support the economy and increase employment in the area.
The food consumed determines a lot about an individual’s health. Science has for many years indicated that individuals who eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day have a better immune system and are in a stronger position to fight off diseases. It is also advised that when having a meal half of the plate should be full of vegetables. According to Sharma and Liu (2013), one needs to be more careful on prevention of sickness strategies rather than neglecting the body only to fight through the curing process when already sick. The population is becoming conscious of what they are eating.
In current economic state individuals want more value for money when buying food. Produce that has gone through the distribution chain cannot guarantee that it will last when bought and brought home unlike fresh produce that has come from farm shops and markets. Government institutions are more concerned with the preventive measure leading to established organisations set up to fight possible outbreaks of diseases among people (CDC, 2010). Through the national budget health departments are awarded a considerable amount to keep the food industry levels at a standard that will keep the nation healthy through food intake.
Farming is a skill that is not understood by all individuals. Many consumers don’t feel they need to know or want to know the processes that occur in the making of the produce. It has been found that the total expenditure for a year on vegetables that an individual grown in their garden can be less than the total expenditure for one month’s worth of fruits and vegetables in the supermarket. According to Berry (1989), a farmer and a poet, “Most people think of food as an agricultural product, but do not see themselves as participants in agriculture; they just think of themselves as ‘consumers.” Individuals that grow up in urbanised areas often don’t know the processes of how the food that they eat is made or produced. Supermarkets contribute to this unknown having such long food chains for produce and products.
For many individuals, back gardens are low cost projects that can produce fast growing home grown fruits and vegetables. Allen, an outstanding writer in matters agriculture and a renowned farmer in the US wrote and said a greenhouse is a teaching space besides being his farming ground, as he was looking at his greenhouse as not only a farming tool but also an educational ground. This norm was in line with his vision and life mission of social transformation as he seeks to create as many farmers like himself.
Agriculture has many opportunities that can change lives. Allen observed that the population is changing with many people moving or being brought up in urbanised areas. And something changes inside them when they get the whole process of agriculture. According to him, it is a spiritual awakening to many to touch the earth if you after a disconnection from it for so long.
Farmers have been struggling with globalisation of food production and supplying the chain whilst a few monopolies have had control of the market. These monopolies have so much power that they only select certain companies to use so small agricultural providing companies fall out of business. In 2011, reports show that in Portugal, 85% of Germans national food market, and only three retailers, controlled 90% of the food market. Five retailers controlled 70% of the food market in Spain in 2009. Unfair practices of trade reign in such countries hurt local economies with monopolies killing local farmers and suppliers.
Individuals have to be aware of their local markets and promoting such facilities along with the farmers themselves. Individuals should be aware of the agricultural processes that go on to create the produce with health benefits that they desire. Having an understanding of where the food you buy originates from has importance and being able to understand the agricultural practices that are performed in the area. Scotland has seen a trend of new food shops starting up seeking to sell products directly to consumers. The direct selling process has transformed the economy and the way of business for local farmers. 20% of Europe farmers are selling half their produce directly to consumers. Close to 12 million farms in Europe are small family farms supplying close to 70% of the continent’s food supply. The monopolies of food production are being gradually put out of business.
Direct selling does not need any processing of produce from the farm to consumer. Transport and storage are kept to a minimum along with non-renewable materials associated with it. No additives are added to agricultural products to increase shelf life in supermarkets.
A study in 2010 showed that local producers enjoy between 50% and 69% higher income in direct selling than selling through the long distribution channels and supermarkets taking most of the profits. David Boyle in a research said, “Local food purchases are twice as efficient regarding keeping the local economy alive,” showing how communities can develop when they buy from their community.
Within the United Kingdom, there are 186 660 farms producing mainly cereals, fodder crops, and industrial crops. There is a largely agricultural community in the UK and Scotland all wanting to better the way farming is done. There is 71% of the land in the UK dedicated to agriculture, and 19% of that is used to produce arable crops. In Scotland, there are 52,277 farm holdings with 17,019 hectares being devoted to growing fruits and vegetables, and in Angus, there are 314 holdings. Of which there are 19 fruit farms. Across Scotland, there are 21,000 hectares of soft fruit and vegetables grown including some crops being grown under cover in tunnels. Angus is known for its fertile soils, and this is why there is a large proportion of soft fruits and vegetables cultivated in the area. Field plants have to be built on the best of land and these results in 231,000 tons of carrots; 64,000 tons of turnips and 34,000 tons of peas being grown in Scotland. With Angus having some of the best lands in the country this equates to almost a third of the potato crops for the whole of Scotland’s potato industry.
Fruit and vegetables are a staple part of everyone’s diets with UK households spending a combined total of £112 Billion on food and drink in 2014. £12.5 Billion of the £112 Billion was of fruits and vegetables. For every person in each household, it equates to £2.37 each week. Consumers buying food and drink in Britain are aware of looking at the label and trying to buy British. 56% of users say that they try to buy British produce whenever they can. Consumers do try to support local and British farmers with 77% of shopper saying it is important too.
It has been a renowned fact for decades those doctors recommend eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to remain healthy. With new reports, they show all the time that getting as much fruit and vegetables into your daily diet will reduce health problems. Even with all these reports household purchases of fruit and vegetables have seen a reduction. UK household purchases of fruit and vegetables were 1.8% lower in 2014 than in 2013, a decrease of 11.4% since their peak in 2006. Across all households, there was a reduction to 3.9 portions, which is lower than the 4.0 portion in 2013. The amount of fruit and vegetables bought does depend on what band of income the household is on with the higher incomes buying more fruit and vegetables. The lowest income households purchase the least fruit and vegetables at an average of 3.0 portions per person; this is also a decrease from 2013 of 0.2% per person. Households in the second band of income seen the largest drop in purchasing fruit and vegetables, between 2007 and 2011 there was a 20% reduction in purchases. This fall is due to the consumer seeing foods that are going to make main meals more of a necessity than fruit and vegetables which can be regarded as a snack.
The UK is 76% self-sufficient and has to import the food that can’t be grown in the UK due to the climate of the country. Astonishingly £470 is the total spends in every household annually on food that is wasted. Defra estimates that 22% of edible fruit and vegetables are lost.
Farmers are price takers and don’t get to determine the price that they get for their produce. Vegetables, potatoes and dairy products saw the greatest falls, both down by over 6.0% in the year to June 2016 in price. ‘Fruit and vegetables’ have the largest trade deficit. In 2015 imports cost £9.1 billion while exports were worth £1.0 billion, giving a trade gap of £8.0 billion.
Over the past decade the idea of a “local food sector” has gained both momentum and credibility in consumer consciousness. The evidence is available on the ground: more and more Irish people are supporting local markets, local products, and direct selling schemes.
The experience, to date, of farmers’ markets, farm shops, and box schemes, suggests that there are many long term benefits at local and regional level, which can be measured either socially, environmentally and economically. These benefits include access to in-season quality fresh food not limited to ; fewer air miles travelled and, resulting, to reduced carbon footprints; more money circulation in local economies; increased employment opportunities regionally; the preservation of regional specialties; and an enhanced level of choice for consumers.
There is no universally accepted definition of “local food” but, as a general rule of thumb, for a product to be local, it must be sourced within a 40-50km (25-30 mile) radius of where it becomes sold. Local food can consist of fresh produce/product such as fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat, or processed foods such as cheese, bread, and jams. It may even become considered local if the final product becomes prepared in the area where the selling takes place, even if the ingredients are from elsewhere. The source of the food product is, therefore, critical but other factors such as quality, flavour, and freshness are also relevant. Local food, undoubtedly, has moved up the policy agenda and links between local food and sustainable development getting recognition from the Government, both at local and national level.
Figure 1 Farm Shops across the UK
2.5 Farm Shops
Within the United Kingdom, there are around 4000 established farm shops. These shops have a combined annual turnover estimated at £1.5bn.
At a UK level, Mintel (2003) found that shoppers revealed a strong preference for locally grown and British produce – 50% of those surveyed tried to buy British meat; 44% tried to buy British fruit and vegetables, and 31% had a preference for British fresh fish. Some 23% of those surveyed also bought local produce through farmers’ markets and farm shops. Mintel forecast that the market for local and regional food would continue to grow in response to regional marketing initiatives, the health message and an increasing consumer awareness of what they are eating.
Many of those who operate a farm shop, or have farm gate sales, also attend farmers’ markets. There are now ~ 70 farmers markets running in Scotland since the first one which became held in Perth in 1999. There are an estimated 300 – 400 local producers selling at these markets. SAC, through survey work over two years, initially valued farmers’ markets at circa £7M per annum. This estimate has since become revised in 2006 by the Scottish Association of Farmers’ Markets who expect the turnover of farmers’ markets and related direct marketing activities of producers in Scotland to be £18 – £20M. No new estimates have been undertaken since 2006 thus this research in this investigation being a fresh insight into the current market.
Spending on local food benefits the local economy through the effect of the economic multiplier e.g. for every £10 spent at a farm shop, £16 became generated for the local economy, compared with the £4 made by every pound spent at the supermarket. The “traditional farm shop” majoring on fruit and vegetables with other local produce. The “rural destination” comprising farm shop, café, children’s play area, walks.
The “specialist agricultural activity center” e.g. quad biking, riding, etc. with restaurant and farm shop attached. Each of the above was found to attract a slightly different type of customer and from varying distances. The study found that the farm shops had on average a 60 – 70 % repeat customer profile except for the specialist centers where the percentage was almost reversed with 60 – 70 % being new or one-off clients. Most farm shop operators considered that their customers came from within a fifteen to the thirty-mile radius.
The last couple of years has seen an increase in the number of farmers markets around the UK and Scotland. According to Farma, there are now 550 farmers’ markets across the UK. This norm is a way for local farmers to direct sell to the consumer, in a survey run by the Soil Association study 100% of the consumers said they would like to spend money at farmers markets. The National Association of Farmer’s Markets became established in 1999 this is there for the farmers to aid with guidelines, promote new markets, support existing ones, raise public awareness and encourage their use at a national level.
There are currently 51 Farmers Markets spread across Scotland. It seems difficult to believe that the first one in the UK became held in Bath over 20 years ago. Within Angus, there are two local farmers markets one held in Forfar on the second Saturday of each month and Montrose on the first Saturday of every month. The farmers market in Forfar was one of the first to be held in Scotland. The first took place on the 10th July 1999, and due to the success, Montrose’s first market took place in October 2005. The Forfar farmers market expanded further in June 2012 when it moved to an indoor site at the local agricultural mart. This norm has opened up an opportunity for there to be an on-site chef doing cooking demonstrations to the consumers and farmers market now holds food festivals and seasonal events promoting the local area.
Vegetable box systems have been a way for farmers to direct sell their produce to the consumers. Farm box systems involve the farmer delivering fresh, seasonal produce direct to the consumer’s door. There are estimated to be over 500 vegetable box schemes in the UK. There are 400,000 households regularly receiving a box of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables from their local farmers within a 10-15 mile radius of the farm. The box schemes have been a great way for the organic farmers to direct sell. With supermarkets charging such high prices for the same produce the farmers can price accordingly and not charge as much to encourage consumers to reorder boxes.According to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report, sales for smaller box schemes increased by 11% in 2015 sales topped £100 million last year, according to the Soil Association. Such direct retail links between producer and consumer now represent around 2% of UK grocery market activity.
The organic market is thriving in the UK as report indicate. According to a 2017 Organic Market report, it reveals that the UK organic market is now in its 5th year of strong growth and worth £2.09 billion. These sales of increased by 7.1% in 2016 and the non-organic market seen a decline in sales. Organic represents around 1.5% of the UK food and drinks market in total. With 39% of consumers buying organic food in their weekly shop. The organic market is always growing with the supermarkets seeing a 6.1% increase in sales. There are multiple sales methods in the organic market, and all saw an increase, independent seen a 6.3% increase where sales of organic products through home delivery saw a growth of 10.5%.
Supermarkets account for 69% of total sales and shoppers are also ordering more natural products online. With organic food, the price difference is striking: meat and poultry were found to be on average 37% more expensive at the supermarket, and vegetables were 33% cheaper at farmers’ markets. A comparison of prices has become done on Organic Horticultural Produce. The public is beginning to become better informed through the better point of sale material and the better level of organic food labeling(Soil Association). The consumers’ concerns with pesticide residues and GMO crop production have caused a rise in demand for organic produce(diss).
Supermarkets are the largest sellers of fruit and vegetables In the UK with the big four supermarkets; Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s, having 80% of consumers spend on food and drink. The major supermarkets set the prices leaving the farmers to be price takers. The combined market share of food and non-alcoholic drinks of the largest four food and drink retailers was 61% in 2014, up from 58% in 2013. The most important of the supermarket chains, Tesco commanded the largest market share with having 21%, but this was a decrease from 2013 of 1%. The three most major discounters (Aldi, Iceland, and Lidl) had a combined market share of 12%, up from 9.9% in 2013. Internet food shopping, which includes the largest supermarkets, increased to 5.5% of sales of food and non-alcoholic drinks, up from 5.4% in 2013.
The horsemeat scandal that took place in through the shelves of Tesco saw the consumer wanting to know exactly where their food was coming from. The scandal has made the customer look at the labels, and this has been a benefit to the farmer who directly sells through farm shops and markets.
When buying food the consumer has a clear image of what they will buy and what will get left on the shelf. Several influences make up the decision with the price being the most influential with 36% of shoppers naming it as the most important factor(4). 90% of consumers listed it within their top five influences. Another significant impact is Quality as this became rated as one of the highest authorities by scoring 18% by respondents; Quality is highly influential with 62% listing it in the top 5 factors. Taste or smell followed quality at 13%. The consumer is more health conscious these days, and the consumer became influenced by the product being a healthy option with this coming in at 10%.
The use of use by dates was seen to be least important when buying produce with only 5% of consumers saying this was the biggest influence; they still play a part in the decision making when purchasing produce like 51% of customers said it was in their top five influences when shopping.
Brand loyalty plays a huge part when the consumer is buying products and produce. If a brand regularly provides the quality that you desire that brand and product is more likely to be put in your basket the next time you run out of that product. 47% of consumers say that brands are in their top five influences when buying products.
The demand and opinion of the user are a dominant force. Consumers want to know more and more about the food that they buy and the way it is grown and produced. It has become found that an informed consumer is a committed user (soil association)
For the people of his generation and those who went before him, it is a daunting task to teach the nobility of the agricultural practice as a whole. In the past, and from experience especially for the African American generation, agriculture would highly become associated with slavery.
The media also and the big companies who propagate for fast foods have brought up a generation who have lost touch with healthy eating habits. Allen is out to undo the harm and teach the importance of good food. He encourages people to go back to basics again. Agriculture and racial exploitation have experience in the history of the US show disenfranchisement and the federal government channelling hostile discrimination toward black farmers deterring their efforts and forcing them out of their land. Allen explains the government preferred white farmers to black ones as the white farmer would own an average of 428 acres of land compared to 128 acres of land for a black farmer. Typically, the government managed to discriminate farmers (black) because they were small. They were forced out of business in the end in the whole process of industrialization.
Notably, unlike white farmers who enjoy a considerable amount of protection and administrative privileges, the black farmers would be denied loans at the expense of the white farmers and were usually subjected to sell their properties instead forcefully. They were never encouraged to develop their land or invest in it, rather, they were to sell it to their white counterparts.
It is in records as Allen also points out, that between the year 1984 and 1985, the US Agency concerned with agriculture lent $1.3 billion to farmers for the purpose of buying land. “Sixteen thousand farmers received these loans. Only 209 of them were black”.
Growing food can be healing and empowering. Allen points out the health crisis among blacks compared to whites who are more prone to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. “These are symptoms of a broken food system,” Allen writes on page 7. He goes ahead to attach value and dignity to the practice of farming and the farmer as he is number one in the chain among the other people who are considered significant, for example, the food scientist, distributors and the corporations who only exist by virtue that the farmers live. Healthy and fresh produce will heal the people, and the whole practice of farming is a great source of income that ca empower anyone.
The world one would want to create in agriculture. Many people are an example of an urban individual who grew up knowing little or nothing about farming. Many cannot differentiate whether some farm products grow underground for instance carrots and potatoes or if they hang on trees like pineapples and bananas. As they grow up, they find the discovery such a wonder to their sight. Through my intellectual hierarchy, they appreciate the whole art of agriculture. Societal concerns and biological challenges have also had people thinking of their input for a better world with food security and healthy and affordable food for that matter.
Many imagine a society coming together in unity to battle the food challenge together. It is close to impossible to imagine an individual doing this alone. The cost of production is high, and land is a big issue everywhere. Even if production was possible, there is the whole challenging of reaching produce to the market and fighting middle persons and significant corporate facilities that tend to be the monopolies in the market.
Back to basics, food is outstanding. Communities should be in a position to develop small farms around them and grow different types of crops that they may need. I imagine every home making use of their backyards and home gardens. More in particular for the purpose of growing vegetables that should make up more than half of our dietary needs and healthy eating lifestyle. Everyone would be in a position to make use of the resources that are limited and maximize on them, in this case, not all families have backyards or farming space. Many people in urban areas cannot afford this luxury. However, the number of individuals who have backyards is equally significant and can produce enough to share/sell to the others who do not.
People envision communities joining hands and forming cooperative societies at their levels. It ensures the power of numbers and pooling of resources. Like-minded producers of a particular product can place their produce together. They can find a common means of transport to the market which will be way cheaper than every individual finding his ways and of course the whole group will have a voice and a competitive advantage even in the marketplace since they can enjoy offering the option of large economies of scale.
Locally produced food for the local market ensures a steady supply of fresh produce for nearby clients. There is no need for the long chains of distribution as much food get spoilt in the process, and by the time it reaches the end consumers, it is not as fresh. Individuals in their communities, once united, can place food, fresh food on their tables without breaking a sweat (Benítez, et al., 2013. Pp 23-30). This norm will also eliminate the shameful challenge of ever importing food. Sometimes it is as embarrassing as food becomes imported from countries known to be desserts with other problems that question countries with resources with poor management and leadership and misplaced priorities.
The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the method that was applied in the study as well as show how the study was carried out.
Labaree (2013) defines research design as the overall plan that you choose to integrate the different components of the study in a coherent and logical way, thereby, ensuring you will address the research problem; it constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement, and analysis of data.
Both quantitative and qualitative research was used within the investigation. Quantitative data was collected through questionnaires through consumers who were using the farm shops and walking the streets of Forfar, Angus. 100 of these were collected at each location. Alongside the questionnaire interviews were carried out on 25 individuals in each of the farm shops and in Forfar. All the interviewees were randomly picked at all three locations. In total 300 questionnaires were collected and 75 interviews conducted.
The investigation used questionnaires, interviews and observations to gain the required information. Questionnaires were chosen as they are quick to fill out through closed questions and tick boxes. No personal data was held about the individuals. The interviews were chosen to add more depth to the responses of the questionnaires and gain a real understanding as to the needs and wants of the consumer. Through both these methods observations were made to back up the investigation.
Chambliss & Schutt (2010:108) defines a population as the entire set of individuals or other entities to which study findings are to be generalized. For this Dissertation the target markets were farm shops and the general public in the region of Angus, Scotland. Only individuals who came into the farm shops were asked to participate along with only the people walking the streets of Forfar not those who were specifically at a retail outlet.
Two farm shops were attended and for the general public the streets of Forfar were used. 100 individuals who were using the farm shops or walking round Forfar were asked to participate and fill in a short 5 minute questionnaire. Only asking these individual allowed for the correct target audience to be questioned. The two farm shops were located in the heart of Angus both having different approaches to their farm shop but both directly selling to the consumer. The individuals that participated through the streets of Forfar were asked about their shopping choices and preferences. Through this there was enough data to meet the objectives of the investigation.
The data collection took place by the researcher who was present when all the questionnaires and interviews were carried out. All three locations were visited on separate weekends. The researcher was present from opening till closing until enough respondents were collected. No influences were given by the researcher at any of the locations though not to be seen as bias.
For better interpretation of the collected data, both qualitative and quantitative data analysis approaches were used. Quantitative data will be analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and MS Excel analyzing the extent to which people shopped with farm shops in mind. The analysis also looked into the statistics of the number of individuals who have benefited from farm shops. Qualitative data was analyzed using analysis and description calculation.
Polit and Hungler (1993:445) refer to security as the degree of consistency with which an instrument measures the attribute it is designed to measure. In this study, consistency of responses about farm shops from the different locations was a factor to be watched.
The validity of an instrument is the degree to which an instrument measures what it is intended to measure (Polit & Hungler 1993:448). In order achieve this norm, social media experts will be involved in generating and designing the questions. Content validity refers to the extent to which the instrument represents the factors under study. To achieve content validity, questionnaires included a variety of items as would be recommended by the economic experts.
The investigation looked at three locations and these locations were respected. The running of the businesses was not affected by the researcher carrying out the questionnaires and interviews. The individuals that participated both through the questionnaire and the interviews gave consent for the information that they provided to be used in the investigation. The participants voluntarily participated in the research no one was forced or made to participate. All aspects of data protection were considered and no personal data such as names or addresses were asked of the individuals. There were no influences that could make the research impartial.
The investigation is trying to establish whether there is opportunity for farm shops to become an alternative option to food outlets in Angus, Scotland. Both Qualitative and quantitative methods were to be used. Questionnaires were distributed at three locations along with interviews. From this information results and recommendation were to be analysed.
Both methods of questionnaire and interview were used as to gain more in-depth knowledge about the consumers wants and needs on the area being investigated. Two farm shops were visited by the researcher where the participants were asked to participate in the research. The farms shops visited were Peel Farm Shop and Charleton Fruit Farm. Both these locations are within the area being investigated, Angus. At both locations 100 participants completed a questionnaire and 25 then conducted a short interview.
Peel Farm Shop is located outside Kirriemuir in Angus, Scotland. Open 7 days a week this farm shop is dedicated to provided the consumer with local Scottish produce. Charleton Fruit Farm is located on the outskirts of Montrose and again is open 7 days a week. This farm shop has been family run since 1946 and is one of the main soft fruit farms that Angus is well known for. The general public aspect of the research was conducted in and around the streets of Forfar, this location being chosen as there are two major supermarkets and four discounter stores within the small town.
The utilization of these two approaches supports the qualitative approach of research that is used in this research. Considerably, the work of the researcher entails the creation of a connective pattern of response that would help identify deeply the reaction of the consumers based on the survey questions as supported by deeper explanations as the participants are asked during the interview process. A draft of the study questions and the interview questions are presented as follows:
Figure2: Interview Questions
To avoid consuming the time of the participants, there were only five interview questions that were asked and most are relatively related to the buying attitude of the consumers based on what they believe in and how they understand the concept of promoting healthier lifestyle.
- How long have you been buying from farm-shops in the area?
- Do you have a specific shop you want to go to? Why?
- Do you ever buy from groceries and supermarkets for your fresh food supplies? Why or why not? What caused the change in your consideration over food [if the participant used to buy in large markets than in farm shops]?
- What could you say about your experience in buying from farm-shops?
- Do you think farm shop products are healthier than those sold in supermarkets? Why?
In appendix 1 and appendix 2 a summary of the findings can be found in a table format. The results were drawn from the set of questions in the questionnaire.
Figure 2: Reason for Buying at Farm Shops Charleton Fruit Farm
The vast amount of individuals that were observed shopping in the farm shops indicated that there is definitely a market for farm shops in the region of Angus. Between the hours of 12pm and 3pm were seen to be busiest for purchases. Through the collected analysis from both the interview and the questionnaire, most of the participants are shopping in supermarkets where all aspects of the household shopping can be bought with many saying that they do still buy produce from farm shops. Through the responses a change in attitude towards farms shops was due to two main reasons; the first being consumers are looking to aim towards a healthier lifestyle thus having to make healthier choices, and the second is the consumers’ attitude towards product pricing. Respondents voiced that the produce bought from farm shops due to being directly sold from farm to the consumer was fresher and cheaper. A reoccurring theme was that participants thought that buying from farm shops was a better option when buying their fruits and vegetables from the supermarket shelves.
The responses that came from the farm shops showed that 72% and 63% at the separate locations preferred to buy their fruits and vegetables fresh from farmers rather than the other food outlets available. A positive response was given from the participants when they were asked about their experience when buying from farm shops. The negative responses that came were for the location of farm shops. More often than not farm shops are located in the countryside with no access through public transport meaning other arrangements have to be made to reach the locations if a consumer cannot drive. Therefore making the decision to use supermarkets for their produce as they are easily accessible. The opening times for farm shops are often 10 o’clock and closing between 4 and half past. Many individuals of working age are away before this time in the morning and not home in time at night to be able to get their produce from a farm shop meaning they have no choice but to buy the produce from supermarkets.
The packaging of produce from farm shops was seen to not be as environmentally friendly or used to preserve the produce for longer. When asked to go into more detail the respondents stated that supermarket packaging was better as it was preserving the produce and was practically designed better.
The general public that participated lacked an interest in using local farm shops and opted for the convenience of the supermarkets. This did not stop them stating that buying from farmers markets was supporting the local economy and that quality was one of the reasons that they would use farm shops.
Distance received a mixed response. 10 miles received the highest amount of responses at the farm shops but the general public would prefer to try half that distance favouring 5 miles. Many of the general public stated they preferred being able to drive or walk short distances to the nearest supermarket and time was a constraining factor for many with busy lifestyles. Price is a large motivational factor and this response was shared through all three locations.
4.1 Chi- square Income Impact
A chi-squared statistical test was conducted to indicate whether there was a significant difference in the household income with consumers who do shop at farm shops.
The results from the test showed that the chi-squared value was 3.48 with a p-value of 0.334. This concluded that there was no significant household income difference with consumers who shop at farm shops.
4.2 Chi-square Place of Residence
A chi-squared statistical test was conducted to indicate whether there was a significant difference with the place of residence and how that affects consumers buying habits.
The results from the test showed that the chi-squared value was a with a p-value 3.97 of 0.078. This concluded that there is a significant difference with where consumers place of residence is and their food buying habits.
The farm shop industry is always in the increase. More and more consumers are becoming aware of farm shops and farm produce. Many consumers are making repeat purchases monthly and in some cases weekly. These consumers are loyal to the farm shops like the majority of the general public were loyal to the supermarkets and brands. To attract those that are still loyal to the supermarkets, public awareness has to be increases and promotions need to take place to attract the consumers into making their first purchase.
The participants that took the questionnaire agreed quality is of higher standards when buying from farm shops and markets. The quality of the produce should not be compromised through trying to compete with the supermarkets. Fresh vegetables and fruits with no added preservatives are available to consumers in farm shops.
Farm shops are located more often than not in the countryside and out of reach for many people especially those that can’t drive. If distance wasn’t an issue, then more people would take the option to shop from farm shops.
Food is apart of everyday lives and this market is always going to be available. Any individual is a potential buyer.
The government is encouraged to support people in starting their supply chain and farms and guarantee benefits. Many farmers have taken this opportunity and have been successful. Many are just starting out and are already seeing the benefits of selling directly to the consumer. Good returns are guaranteed when people sell directly to consumers. Individuals should be encouraged to take on allotments or use their back gardens to their full potential.
Consumers are initiating the change. More and more people are adopting the culture of shopping from farm shops and farmers markets. Many agree that if it were not for the distance that they would have to travel, they would always buy in farm shops. This is a positive for the future and for farms that are thinking about starting a shop. People agree that it is healthier to buy directly from farmers as they can ask the farmers about their procedures and how they are producing the produce. Producers and consumers meet often as this is a direct way for farmers to find out what the consumers needs and wants are and engage in business.
The interview respondents highlighted the following reasons. Consumers are looking to buy fruits and vegetables from the farmer because of pricing difference. The farmers produce is cheaper to buy as he is the only one in the chain of distribution getting the value from selling. Secondly, there is little or no cost on transportation, packaging and preservative costs unless the farmer has chosen to package the products. The consumers also have assurance of where they are getting from the products they are eating daily.
It is of more value taking fruits and vegetables while they are fresh. One also can get any answer about ingredients and seeds used in the farming process of the produce. Consumers are increasingly aware and are curious about what they are taking in, keen to avoid chemically produced foods. They are keen also on ensuring they get value from every meal they make. The more reason pointed out is that the long chain of distribution reduces value in fresh fruits and vegetables hence buying directly from farmers becoming a better option.
People are particular with building their communities. It is more rewarding to buy from a farmer as the farmer gets to enjoy the profits without sharing with the supermarkets who haven’t had to do any of the work. Consumers buying goods locally feel obligated to give back to the local economy through buying from farmers. The participants expressed their preference for promoting local farmers rather than buying imported goods.
The participants revealed the new health problems related to the increasing food choices that are usually processed and preserved for rather delayed consumption with increased shelf lives. There was a need for fresher food to be available more often than processed. It has been found through studies and observations that individuals who choose to eat freshly grown fruits and vegetables do not only pay less with the prices by which they purchase their food but are also given better options of retaining a better state of health. They can combat health problems such as malnutrition and low immunity to common ailments.
A better understanding regarding the relation of eating freshly grown products gives a better overview on why many individuals now opt to buy directly from farmers than from supermarket chains. More and more people are getting concerned about their health matters with more matters arsing all the time.
Advertising and campaigning should take a step up and take more of a focus on promoting the farmers products. Putting farmers at the front line of such campaign makes it more useful to get the attention of the local consumer who is looking to buy local produce. However, the question is, after the study and results are if local farm growers be ready enough to take over the from large supermarket chains in the modern day working industry, like that of the one in Angus, Scotland. The demand on the ground is the availability of more shops in the neighbourhoods. Growers are advised to enter and penetrate the market to where the people are and where the houses are being built. Farmers are also advised to look at their packaging and see how they can make this more like the favoured supermarket packaging.
The location that the investigation was undertook in, Angus, in Scotland is an area of family run farms. The creation of farm shops where agricultural products could be immediately sold is determined to have a clear impact not only on the locals but towards the economy of the area as well. Putting the health of the people first through assuring safe and fresh food choices could indeed make farm shops a better alternative to food sources for residents in the area. With a distinct attention towards the demands of the public, farm growers could further improve their products and the service they provide their target consumers.
Through the proper direction of operations, local farm producers could find better options of retaining the freshness of their products. It should become noted that while they offer products at a much lower price, it still pays to invest in proper packaging to avoid wastage especially on products that are easily spoiled. As mentioned in the discussion, among the concerns of the participants interviewed was the location of the farm shops. To resolve this problem, practically placing farm shops considered as central distribution points on strategic locations ought to provide better market influence on the part of the farm growers. True, while there are distinct downsides to the condition of market distribution in the case of farm-shop operations, resolutions are readily available for application. Through proper consideration of the situation, farm shops could stand as efficient and practical alternative sources of food for locals in Angus Scotland which is also become pursued in other neighbouring localities in the country.
Distinctively, the farm shops ought to improve the way they put their products in distributable and convenient packages to attract more customers in the local market.
Farm shops have proved to have an impact on people. More and more investors are encouraged to join the real farmers. Partnerships with farmers can go a long way as business people can open vending spaces from already existing farms who own no farm shops.
It is healthier and more economically benefiting for both consumers and farmers. For this reason, the government of Scotland can consider campaigning for the practice of its citizens to be shopping more in farm shops. Supermarkets can be encouraged to specialize more on other products then the fresh produce line of business can be advanced by farm stores.
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7.1 Appendix 1
|Question||Peel Farm shop||Charleton Farm shop|
|What is your home postcode||30 mile radius||34 mile radius|
|What age category do you fall under
|What is the household income
Less than 16000
|How far would you be willing to travel to a farm shop
|Do you buy products from a farm shop
|Where do you buy most of your fruit and vegetables from
Lidl- 7 Aldi-5
|Do you see farm shop produce as being healthier
|Would you rather buy from farm shops
|Does the price of produce determine where you shop
|If you shop at farm shops what are the reasons
Less Food Miles
7.2 Appendix 2
|What is your home postcode||20 mile radius|
|What age category do you fall under
|What is the household income
Less than 16000
|How farm would you be willing to travel to a farm shop
|Do you buy products from a farm shop
|Where do you buy most of your fruit and vegetables from
Lidl- 14 Aldi-6
|Do you see farm shop produce as being healthier
|Would you rather buy from a farm shop
|Does the price of produce determine where you shop
|If you buy from farm shops what are the reasons
Less Food miles
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