Learn to Shop for Healthy Affordable Food on a Budget

The Shopping Matters Program, sponsored by the non-profit Share Our Strength and managed by Chef Greg Silverman, is a guided grocery store tour that teaches individuals how to read labels, compare unit prices, and compare various forms of fruits and vegetables. Tours are led by experts in the field, including culinary and health professionals, and challenge participants to buy groceries to make a healthy meal for a family of four with only $10.


Organic Industry Continues to Grow, Despite Price Premiums

The organic industry experienced 9.5% growth in 2011, showing that consumers perceive organic food as value-added products worth the premium. At the same time, the price gap is narrowing for some organic products, such as lettuce, making it easier for the budget-minded consumer to choose organic over conventional products.


Video: Students Say Food Deserts Are Much More Complicated Than They Thought

In this video a group of students from the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University address how to encourage healthier food choices in food deserts using a human-centered design. They discover that the availability of healthy food does not necessarily cause a shift in eating habits; education about how to prepare healthy, inexpensive meals is key, and making it fun is particularly important when trying to engage and educate youth.


Consumers Want to Know Where Their Food Comes From

Consumers are asking more questions about their food and where it comes from. In response, grocery stores are trying to meet consumer demand for more information and have changed the way they present food to their customers. Even McDonald’s is starting a ‘Meet our Suppliers’ campaign. Yet, price still remains a powerful factor in food choice.


Price Is Leading Factor in Deciding Where to Shop

A study completed by the NPD Group in March found that 85% of U.S. consumers say price is the leading factor in deciding where to shop, trumping sales, special deals, customer service, and convenience. Setting the right pricing strategy, therefore, is a competitive advantage for retailers and manufacturers but it is also more difficult today with changes in shopping habits and the soft U.S. economy.


Healthy Foods Here Produce Guide and Merchandising Tips

The goal of the Healthy Foods Project Project, which is a collaboration between King County Public Health Department and the Seattle Office of Economic Development, is to make healthy food available in the county by supporting local businesses and providing resources on healthy foods. Some of the resources on the website include merchandising tips to help retailers sell healthy foods, a produce manual that provides basic care information on over 50 types of produce. Their resource guides for produce store owners are currently available in English, Spanish, Somali and Korean.


Washington Farm to School Toolkit

The Washington Farm to Schools Program announced the publication of a new toolkit on June 20. The goal of the Washington Grown Food Kit is the help school food service directors learn more about the planning, procurement and logistics of local food purchasing and it also outlines strategies to farmers about how to develop and serve school markets and comply to school procurement policies. Click here for the toolkit.


The Farmers Market Coalition

The Farmers Market Coalition resource library is intended for vendors, farmers, market managers, inspectors, and consumers and covers a wide range of topics including funding, promotion and marketing, insurance and liability, management and operations, EBT and evaluation. The coalition’s website offers resources for farmers markets including webinars, and policy and advocacy tools.


Regional Food Hubs: Understanding the Scope and Scale of Food Hub Operations

This presentation presents findings from interviews conducted with the help of the Food Hub Tactical Team which is comprised of the Wallace Center, USDA Agriculture Marketing Service, Rural Development, Food and Nutrition Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Economic Research Service and Agricultural Research Service. The Food Hub Tactical Team looks at how to develop viable local and regional food systems by conducting interviews with food hubs, identifies the core components of a food hub, and offers examples of models from across the country.


Guide To Marketing Channel Selection

This guide on “How to Sell through Wholesale and Direct Marketing Channels” comes from Cornell University’s Tomkins County Cooperative Extension and provides information on successful marketing to small to medium sized fruit and vegetable growers. Topics covered include marketing channel combinations, wholesale buyer expectations, post-harvest handling and tips for building successful relationships with grocery stores and food retailers.