Friday, March 4, 2011

Surveys of mid-Atlantic consumers conducted by Penn State researchers part 8

In previous posts, I discussed research from Penn State about mid-Atlantic consumer food preferences and purchasing behaviors. One particular question asked participants to indicate which category of retailers they believed were more likely to sell fruits and vegetables that are unsafe to eat.

This question brought about some interesting data. Although 30.7% of participants reported that they believed there was no difference in the safety of the produce based on the category of retailer, the remaining majority did indicate categories of retailers that they believed were likely to sell unsafe produce.

Looking at the graph, retailer categories like “Natural Food Store” (1.8%), “Specialty Food Store” (1.5%), and retailers where purchases could be made“Direct from Farmer” (2.4%) were reported to be more likely to sell unsafe produce. As an ag entrepreneur, why do you think consumers feel that natural food stores, specialty food stores, and direct from farmer are the "safest" foods?

As seen in data from previous surveys conducted in 2008, participant belief that a particular category of retailer sells produce that is more or less safe than other categories does not seem to be the deciding factor in where these participants actually purchase fruits and vegetables. Although participants in the previous survey, did (indirectly) report that retail outlets such as specialty food stores, farmer-direct retailers, and natural food stores were less likely to sell unsafe
produce in comparison to other retailer categories, the majority of participants did not choose to purchase fruits and vegetables from retailers they may have believed to have the "safest" produce. As an ag entrepreneur, how do you think you can move consumers to buy from the "safest" produce suppliers? What are your customers saying about this topic?

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