Monday, March 23, 2009

How about a Farmer owned supermarket?

It was made fairly clear last night on Sunday that our supermarkets are heading in the same direction as their British counterparts albeit without the huge discounts for customers.

Here the reality of price mark ups was exposed with a Hawkes Bay Royal Gala apple grower saying how he received just $037.5 cents per kilo for his fruit yet the same supermarket he sold too was marking it up to $3.69 per kilo.

The problem is of course that Foodstuffs almost holds the monopoly on the market and can afford to pay little to the producer and charge lots for the customer.

The suggestion put forth last night was that to avoid the price hikes we should go to our local corner store or butcher - and that does appear to be happening more and more. From personal experience of Farmers Markets it has become clear that people are looking for quality produce without the supermarkets intervening in between.

This then could be a good outlet for producers but it is of course on too smaller scale which leads me to ask why we couldn't get together and start our own Farmers supermarket, shut the blockheads out and market our product the way we want it marketed. It would also ensure that people understand that something like a loaf of bread might have increased by near 100% in price in the past two years, yet the farmer is still only receiving a pitiful 10 to 20 cents per loaf and as co-owners we could sell at a price that better reflects what consumers want to pay.

Further to that we could ensure the quality of produce on the shelf - a sore point for many growers as I found out as a journalist in Marlborough when a local apple grower told me that while his seconds went to a market and were supposed to be used for secondary products, he knew they were ending up on supermarket shelves at similar prices to the top quality apples. This causes consumers to loose faith in the produce and to unfairly blame the grower.

Locally Countdown has been guilty of this and many feel sorry for the producers when they pick up oranges with a thick layer of fur over them (as I did recently) and produce that is soft and rotting in the middle.

Fantasy it might be but wow...imagine what we could achieve if we were able to pull a Farmer's supermarket off...

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