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Urban Farmers’ Markets: accessibility, offerings, and produce variety, quality, and price compared to nearby stores

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  • City University of New York City - Lehman College; City University of New York School of Public Health
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Urban Farmers’ Markets: accessibility, offerings, and produce variety, quality, and price compared to nearby stores

Abstract and Figures

Most food-environment research has focused narrowly on select stores and restaurants. There has been comparatively less attention to non-storefront food sources like farmers’ markets (FMs), particularly in urban communities. The objective of the present study was to assess FMs’ potential contribution to an urban food environment in terms of specific foods offered, and compare FM accessibility as well as produce variety, quality, and price to that of nearby stores. Investigators conducted a detailed cross-sectional assessment of all FMs in Bronx County, NY, and of the nearest store(s) selling produce within a half-mile walking distance (up to two stores per FM). The study included 26 FMs and 44 stores. Investigators assessed accessibility (locations of FMs and stores relative to each other, and hours of operation for each), variety (the number and type of all food items offered at FMs and all fresh produce items offered at stores), quality (where produce items were grown and if they were organic), and price (including any sales prices or promotional discounts). Analyses included frequencies, proportions, and variable distributions, as well as mixed-effect regressions, paired t-tests, and signed rank tests to compare FMs to stores. Geographic information systems (GIS) allowed for mapping of FM and store locations and determining street-network distances between them. The mean distance between FMs and the nearest store selling fresh produce was 0.15 miles (range 0.02-0.36 miles). FMs were open substantially fewer months, days, and hours than stores. FMs offered 26.4 fewer fresh produce items on average than stores (p values <0.02). FM produce items were more frequently local and organic, but often tended towards less-common/more-exotic and heirloom varieties. FMs were more expensive on average (p values <0.001 for pairwise comparisons to stores)—even for more-commonplace and “conventional” produce—especially when discounts or sales prices were considered. Fully, 32.8% of what FMs offered was not fresh produce at all but refined or processed products (e.g., jams, pies, cakes, cookies, donuts, juice drinks). FMs may offer many items not optimal for good nutrition and health, and carry less-varied, less-common fresh produce in neighborhoods that already have access to stores with cheaper prices and overwhelmingly more hours of operation. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.02.034
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UrbanFarmers’Markets:accessibility,offerings,andproducevariety,1
quality, and price compared to nearby stores 2
3
Authors and Affiliations: 4
Sean C Lucan, MD, MPH, MSa (corresponding author), Andrew Maroko, PhDb, Omar 5
Sanonc, Rafael Frias, BAd, Clyde B. Schechter, MDa
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a Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine | 7
Montefiore Medical Center,1300 Morris Park Ave, Block Building, Room 410 8
Bronx, NY (USA) 10461. Tel: +1 (718) 430-3667, Fax: +1 (718) 430-8645, 9
slucan@yahoo.com 10
b Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, 11
NY, USA 12
c College of Arts and Sciences: New York University, New York, NY, USA
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d Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA 14
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Manuscript length: 16
Abstract: 353 words, Text: 4,350 words (including embedded references) 17
References: 38 18
Figures: 3 (plus one Appendix figure), Tables: 1 19
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Abbreviations: 21
FM = Farmers’Market,lb.=pound(unitofweight) 22
*Title Page
UrbanFarmers’Markets:accessibility,offerings,andproducevariety,quality,
and price compared to nearby stores
HIGHLIGHTS
Farmers’markets(FMs)may offer a means to get fresh produce into needy
communities
But FMs operate overwhelming fewer months, days, and hours than nearby stores
FMs carry less-varied, less-common, more-expensive produce than nearby stores
FMs offer many items not optimal for good health (e.g., jams, pies, juice drinks)
FMs might provide little net benefit to food environments in urban communities
*Highlights (for review)
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UrbanFarmers’Markets:accessibility, offerings, and produce variety, quality, 1
and price compared to nearby stores 2
3
ABSTRACT 4
Most food-environment research has focused narrowly on select stores and restaurants. 5
There has been comparatively less attention to non-storefrontfoodsourceslikefarmers’6
markets (FMs), particularly in urban communities. The objective of the present study 7
was to assess FMs’potentialcontribution to an urban food environment in terms of 8
specific foods offered, and compare FM accessibility as well as produce variety, quality, 9
and price to that of nearby stores. Investigators conducted a detailed cross-sectional 10
assessment of all FMs in Bronx County, NY, and of the nearest store(s) selling produce 11
within a half-mile walking distance (up to two stores per FM). The study included 26 12
FMs and 44 stores. Investigators assessed accessibility (locations of FMs and stores 13
relative to each other, and hours of operation for each), variety (the number and type of 14
all food items offered at FMs and all fresh produce items offered at stores), quality 15
(where produce items were grown and if they were organic), and price (including any 16
sales prices or promotional discounts). Analyses included frequencies, proportions, and 17
variable distributions, as well as mixed-effect regressions, paired t-tests, and signed rank 18
tests to compare FMs to stores. Geographic information systems (GIS) allowed for 19
mapping of FM and store locations and determining street-network distances between 20
them. The mean distance between FMs and the nearest store selling fresh produce was 21
0.15 miles (range 0.02-0.36 miles). FMs were open substantially fewer months, days, 22
and hours than stores. FMs offered 26.4 fewer fresh produce items on average than 23
*Manuscript
Click here to view linked References
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stores (p values <0.02). FM produce items were more frequently local and organic, but 24
often tended towards less-common/more-exotic and heirloom varieties. FMs were more 25
expensive on average (p values <0.001 for pairwise comparisons to stores)even for 26
more-commonplace and“conventional”produceespecially when discounts or sales 27
prices were considered. Fully, 32.8% of what FMs offered was not fresh produce at all 28
but refined or processed products (e.g., jams, pies, cakes, cookies, donuts, juice drinks). 29
FMs may offer many items not optimal for good nutrition and health, and carry less-30
varied, less-common fresh produce in neighborhoods that already have access to stores 31
with cheaper prices and overwhelmingly more hours of operation. 32
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Keywords: Farmers’markets; Food environment; Food stores; Fruit; Vegetables; 36
Processed foods; Accessibility; Variety; Quality; Price 37
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INTRODUCTION 38
Most research on food environments has focused narrowly on storefront food 39
sources: i.e., select stores and restaurants (Kirkpatrick, Reedy, & McKinnon, 2010; 40
McKinnon, Reedy, Morrissette, Lytle, & Yaroch, 2009). There has been comparatively 41
little attention to non-storefront food sources, particularly in urban communities (Lucan, 42
2014; Lucan, Maroko, Shanker, & Jordan, 2011; Lucan, et al., 2014). 43
One kind of non-storefront food source that may be important in urban 44
communities isthefarmers’market (FM). FMs are almost universally regarded and 45
promoted as mechanisms to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to areas lacking access 46
(Bader, Purciel, Yousefzadeh, & Neckerman, 2010; Blanck, Thompson, Nebeling, & 47
Yaroch, 2011; Cole, McNees, Kinney, Fisher, & Krieger, 2013; Foltz, Harris, & Blanck, 48
2012; Freedman, Bell, & Collins, 2011; George, Kraschnewski, & Rovniak, 2011; 49
Pearson & Wilson, 2013; Shinkle, 2011). However, there has been surprisingly little 50
research on FMs with regard to how accessible they are (e.g., hours and locations), what 51
kinds of foods they sell, or how their produce offerings compare to nearby storefront 52
businesses in terms of variety, quality, and price. 53
A few prior studies have assessed FM accessibility, noting for instance that FMs 54
tend to be located more often in higher-income areas (Lee, et al., 2010) and tend to have 55
limited hours of operation (Evans, et al., 2012; Larsen & Gilliland, 2009; Lee, et al., 56
2010; Widener, Metcalf, & Bar-Yam, 2011). However, no prior studies have quantified 57
the number of hours FMs operate or compared FM operating hours to those of nearby 58
stores selling fresh produce. 59
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At least two prior studies have considered the variety of produce offered at FMs. 60
One study showed lower availability of 33 select produce items compared to 61
supermarkets and produce stores (Millichamp & Gallegos, 2013). Another study showed 62
FMs had the highest availability (along with supermarkets) of 16 select produce items 63
among all measured food retailers (Lee, et al., 2010). No prior studies have 64
comprehensively assessed all food items that FMs offer. 65
Two studies have formally assessed FM produce quality, suggesting the 66
superiority of FM fruits and vegetables over the fruits and vegetables from produce stores 67
and supermarkets (Millichamp & Gallegos, 2013) and ethnic and convenience stores (Lee, 68
et al., 2010)at least based on visual appearance. However, no studies have directly 69
assessed other quality dimensions that may be important to consumers (e.g., “freshness”,70
“purity”,and“naturalness” as suggested by (Park, et al., 2011)). 71
Regarding price, some studies have found FM produce to be cheaper than produce 72
from supermarkets (Larsen & Gilliland, 2009; Lee, et al., 2010; J. McGuirt, Jilcott, Liu, 73
& Ammerman, 2011), grocery stores (Lee, et al., 2010), and convenience stores (Larsen 74
& Gilliland, 2009; Lee, et al., 2010). However, these studies did not consider differences 75
in price by produce quality or production method (e.g., whether produce was organic or 76
not), or differences in price factoring sales or promotional discounts. 77
The objective of the current study was to expand on the prior research of others 78
and more fully assess FMs in an urban food environment. Specifically, the study sought 79
to comprehensively assess all food items FMs offered and to compare FM accessibility 80
and produce variety, quality, and price to that of nearby stores offering fresh fruits and 81
vegetables. An aim of the research was to understandFMs’potentialcontributiontoan82
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urban food environment. The study included all FMs for an entire county, whereas 83
previous studies have all used much smaller and more-restrictive samples. 84
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MATERIAL AND METHODS 86
The current study involved a primary assessment of all FMs in Bronx County, NY 87
(the Bronx). FMs were defined as periodic, stationary, open-air, public markets, 88
primarily offering food items from local farms (i.e., farms in New York or any 89
surrounding state). The study also involved assessment of the storefront sources of fresh 90
fruits and vegetables nearest each FM (i.e., nearby supermarkets and other stores offering 91
fresh produce). 92
FMs, stores, and the items they offered were the units of observation and analyses 93
in this study. As such, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine institutional review board 94
deemed the research exempt from human subjects review. The study considered FM and 95
store accessibility, and the variety, quality, and price of food items. All assessments 96
occurred June - September 2011. 97
98
Food-source accessibility 99
For FMs, directories of locations and hours of operation came from the New 100
York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (a state agency), the New York City 101
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (a city agency), the Famers’Market102
Federation of New York (a FM membership organization), and GrowNYC (a non-profit 103
organization). Although there was substantial overlap between the directories, no single 104
list was entirely complete. Combining information from all sources generated a final list 105
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of 26 Bronx FMs in total. Two investigators working together visited all 26 FMs (during 106
advertised times), and confirmed locations as well as months, days, and hours of 107
operation by speaking with FM staff. 108
For stores, the same two investigators expanded out systematically from FM 109
locations along street grids, walking distances up to a ½ mile in all directions. The idea 110
was to find nearby alternative sources of fresh produce along pedestrian-friendly routes. 111
In several cases, different FMs were close enough to each other that some of their nearby 112
stores could have been compared to either FM (Figure 1). For analyses, only the one or 113
two strictly closest stores were compared with any one FM, and investigators did not 114
assess more than two stores per FM (even when there were additional, but more-distant, 115
stores selling fresh produce within a ½ mile). Ultimately, investigators assessed 44 116
stores (two stores for each of 18 FMs, one store for each of the remaining 8 FMs). 117
Investigators determined store hours from posted signs, and compared when stores were 118
open to when FMs were open. Investigators also compared how far stores were from 119
FMs along street-network walking routes. 120
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Food-item variety 122
The two field investigators assessed all food items offered at FMs and all fresh-123
produce items offered at nearby stores using standard audit forms created specifically for 124
the study (forms available from the authors upon request). Pilot testing showed complete 125
agreement between investigators for form items, none of which were subjective. 126
To be conservative and to not inappropriately double count items at FMs and 127
stores, investigators collapsed synonymous items potentially sold by different names (e.g., 128
“yautia”, “malanga”, and “dasheen”) in analyses. Additionally, investigators ignored 129
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state distinctions for produce items (e.g., “Californiapeaches”vs.“Georgia peaches”)130
unless the state distinction suggested a distinct commercial variety or cultivar (e.g., 131
Idaho potatoes” to imprecisely mean any Russet Burbank variety of spuds). 132
The study aimed to compare not just specific items between FMs and stores (e.g., 133
Granny Smith apples to Granny Smith apples) but also item categories (e.g., apples of 134
any variety to other apples of any variety). The produce category“apples”, for instance, 135
was comprised of over 20 different cultivars. Investigators created grouped categories of 136
cultivars for all produce varieties (e.g., apples”,“potatoes”,“tomatoes”,“carrots”,etc. 137
not otherwise specified), and made determinations about less-common/more-exotic 138
varieties within categories based on: (a) display signage (e.g.,“heirloompurple carrots”), 139
(b) conversations with FM workers (who were often the farmers themselves), (c) overall 140
availability of the specific variety among all the FMs and stores in the sample, and (d) 141
group consensus considering all of these factors [please see Appendix Figure 1A for 142
complete list of produce items characterized as less-common/more-exotic]. As an 143
example, theproducecategory“apples” included less-common/more-exotic varieties like 144
Crispin, Ginger Gold, Marshall, and Winesap, as well as more-common varieties like 145
Granny Smith and Red Delicious. 146
Investigators also devised four broad food classifications to describe observed 147
food items at FMs. These classifications included two categories of produce items (i.e., 148
Fruit and Vegetables) and two categories of non-produce items (i.e., Other whole foods 149
and Refined or processed products) [please see footnotes to Figure 2 for specific 150
definitions and examples]. 151
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In addition to making observations, investigators asked FM workers about their 152
offerings. Specifically, researchers inquired about best-selling items, whether FMs 153
promotedanyparticularitems,andifthey“tailored”the specific items they offered to the 154
neighborhoods in which they where located. 155
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Produce quality 157
Assessments of produce quality were limited to considerations of“freshness and 158
purity/naturalness, which prior research has shown to be salient to urban consumers 159
(Park, et al., 2011). At FMs, investigators assessed freshness by asking workers the 160
number of days since harvest for each produce item. FM workers (again, often the 161
farmers themselves) had no trouble providing this information. At stores, investigators 162
could only note the state or country of origin for each produce item (which, while not 163
providing the exact time it took to get from growing field to produce aisle, implied 164
certain scenarios which could at least be used for comparisons to more precisely reported 165
field-to-market times for FM produce). Regarding, purity/naturalness, investigators 166
noted if items were labeled organic and, at FMs, asked workers directly if organic 167
methods were used in the production of any items not specifically labeled. 168
169
Produce price 170
At both FMs and stores, the study’stwo field investigators recorded all listed 171
prices for all fresh produce items, noting both regular andwhen applicablespecial, 172
sales prices or promotional discounts. All items were priced by weight (e.g., by the lb.), 173
by volume (e.g., by the pint), or by number(e.g.,“each”,orbythe “bunch”).As to not 174
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make assumptions about sizes and weights, price comparisons were only made between 175
like items of like units (e.g., between two instances of apples sold by the lb., but not 176
between an instance of apples sold by the lb. and an instance of apples sold by individual 177
pieces). 178
Principal analyses focused on non-sale/non-discounted prices. And best values 179
were used for all comparisons. For instance, if apples were regularly $1.39 per lb. but 180
also regularly sold in 3-lb. bags for $3.99 (i.e., $1.33 per lb.), the latter cheaper value 181
would have been used for price comparisons. If there were two stores nearby to a given 182
FM each offering the same item at different prices, the lower of the prices would have 183
been used for comparisons. 184
185
Analysis 186
ArcGIS software (version 9.3.1, ESRI, Redlands, CA) allowed for mapping FM 187
and store locations and for determining the distances between FMs and stores along street 188
networks. Stata/SE version 12.1 (Stata Corp LP, College Station, TX) allowed for 189
determining frequencies, proportions, and variable distributions, for the performance of 190
significance tests, and for the calculation of confidence intervals and p values related to 191
differences in FM and store attributes. 192
Investigators used mixed effects multilevel regression models for overall 193
comparisons”(comparingtheaggregateofallFMstotheaggregateallassessedstores)194
and paired t-tests for pairwise comparisons”(comparingeachFMtoits“paired”or195
nearby store(s)). To avoid distributional assumptions and to be conservative about p 196
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values, pairwise analyses were also run using the non-parametric Wilcoxon signed rank 197
sum test. 198
For price comparisons between FM and store produce, investigators conducted 199
three kinds of sensitivity analyses: (1) substituting any offered discount or sales prices for 200
the lowest prices, (2) restricting price comparisons to more-commonplace produce by 201
excluding items considered to be more-exotic or heirloom, and (3) restricting price 202
comparisons to “conventional”producebyexcludingitemsthatwereorganic. 203
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RESULTS 206
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Food-source accessibility 208
The 26 identified FMs in the Bronx were distributed unevenly across the 42 mi2 209
of the county (Figure 1). All FMs were well within a half-mile walking distance of at 210
least one store selling fresh produce (mean distance to nearest store 0.15 miles along 211
street network, range 0.02 - 0.36 miles). 212
All stores were open year-round, seven days a week, offering fresh produce and 213
other foods a mean of 98.5 hours per week (range 81-168 hours). In contrast, most FMs 214
(20 out of 26) ran for just 4 months a year or fewer (range for all FMs: 3-6 months), were 215
generally open just one day per week (only two FMs were open more than one day: on 216
two weekdays), and generally operated for fewer than 8 hours on any day they were open 217
(range 4-9.5 hours). Hours of operation were predominantly during the typical 9am-5pm 218
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workday; only three FMs were open on any weekdays more than an hour outside the 219
9am-5pm window, and only five FMs had any weekend hours. 220
221
Food-item variety 222
Investigators assessed a total of 4,923 food items, including 4,361 fresh produce 223
items at FMs and nearby stores (430 distinct produce items, 3,931 duplicates). There 224
were 96 fresh produce items offered only at FMs (e.g., yellow seeded watermelon, purple 225
potatoes), 224 fresh produce items offered only at stores (e.g., pink seedless watermelon, 226
Idaho potatoes), and 110 fresh produce items offered at both FMs and stores (e.g., pink 227
seeded watermelon, sweet potatoes). While FMs offered a mean of 23.0 categories of 228
fresh produce (e.g.,“apples” not-otherwise-specified,“carrots” not-otherwise-specified), 229
nearby stores offered a mean of 43.8 categories. Even if analyses were restricted to the 230
nearby stores offering the fewest produce items (in cases where FMs were near two 231
stores), FMs nonetheless consistently offered less produce (26.4 fewer fresh produce 232
items than the comparison store on average, p = 0.003 for paired t-test, p = 0.017 for 233
signed rank; 16.0 fewer fresh produce categories than the comparison store on average, p 234
< 0.001 for paired t-test, p = 0.002 for signed rank). 235
Across all FMs, fruits and vegetables accounted for less than 2/3 of all food items 236
overall, even if items like dried fruits and herb teas were included in the produce total 237
(Figure 2). Refined or processed products like cakes, cookies, donuts, croissants, jams, 238
and juice drinks accounted for nearly 1/3 of all food items (Figures 2 and 3). 239
Workers at stands of 10 FMs stated that some Refined or processed products were 240
among their “bestsellers”. At three of these FMs, and at four others (N=7), there were 241
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workers who reported promoting the sale of non-produce items (e.g., donuts, quiches, and 242
juices). At nearly 3/4 of all FMs (N=19), some workers described “tailoring”items to the 243
neighborhood (e.g., bringing common herbs rather than heirloom vegetables to lower-244
income communities). 245
246
Produce quality 247
For quality, in terms of freshness local farmsin New York (87.6%), New 248
Jersey (4.9%), or Pennsylvania (7.5%)grew 100% of the fresh produce FMs offered. 249
Almost all FM vegetables (97.6%) and 43.9% of FM fruits were picked within one or two 250
days of being offered at FMs (69.0% of fruits were picked within one or two days if 251
apples were excluded; apples are often placed in cold storage for yearly distribution after 252
fall harvest). In terms of purity/naturalness, 3.1% of FMs’ fresh fruit, and 7.9% of FMs’ 253
fresh vegetables were products of organic agriculture. 254
By contrast, at stores, 0.0% of the fruit and 0.8% of the vegetables came from 255
farms in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. “Fresh”produce came from across the 256
country (e.g., California), from Mexico and South America (e.g., Chile), or from more 257
distant parts of the globe (e.g., New Zealand), suggesting substantially greater times since 258
harvest in all cases, even under the most optimistic picking and shipping scenarios. Less 259
than 1.3% of the fruits or vegetables offered at stores were organic. 260
261
Produce price 262
On average, any given produce item offered at FMs and assessed stores was 263
cheaper at the stores; by pairwise comparison, the mean savings ($0.24) was statistically 264
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significant; by overall comparison, the mean savings ($0.16) was not (Table 1). Even in 265
cases where two nearby stores had different prices for the same item, the more expensive 266
store was still cheaper on average than the FM to which it was closest (p values < 0.001 267
for paired t-test and singed rank test). 268
Comparing“applestoapples”(regardless of whether those apples were Ginger 269
Gold or Red Delicious, for instance) and likewise comparing other possibly different 270
specific items within a shared produce-item category (e.g., comparing potatoes to 271
“potatoes”regardless of whether the were Yukon Gold or Russet spuds), stores were also 272
cheaper on average. The mean savings by pairwise comparison ($0.43) was statistically 273
significant; the mean savings by overall comparison ($0.19) was not (Table 1). 274
In sensitivity analysis, mean savings were not substantively altered when 275
discounts or sales prices were considered. However, sales priceswhich investigators 276
found only at storesdid at least minimally increase the savings one might achieve by 277
store shopping (both overall and pairwise, both for any given produce item on average 278
and for any item of a given produce category on average; in all cases, additional average 279
savings amounted to about $0.01). 280
In other sensitivity analysis, less-common/more-exotic or heirloom items 281
appeared to drive some of the price differences between FMs and stores; restricting 282
comparisons to “common produce only reduced price differences, although not 283
substantively (or even perceptibly to two decimal places) in pairwise comparisons (Table 284
1). Within specific produce categories (e.g.,“apples”,“potatoes”), more-exotic cultivars 285
(e.g., Crispin apples, purple potatoes) generally cost more than more commonly 286
cultivated varieties (e.g., Red Delicious apples, red potatoes), but even commonplace 287
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cultivars still tended to be more expensive at FMsalthough price differences were not 288
always statistically significant (Table 1 for select examples). 289
A final sensitivity analysis showed that organic items also drove some of the price 290
difference between FMs and stores. Excluding organic items from consideration, FMs 291
maintained their average expense but stores became cheaper, and overall price 292
differences between FMs and stores became statistically significant (Table 1). 293
294
DISCUSSION 295
This is the first study to provide a detailed assessment of food items offered at 296
FMs, and compare FMs to nearby stores for an entire urban county. Produce at FMs 297
tended to be fresher than at nearby stores, and a modestly higher proportion of FM 298
produce items were organic. But if FMs offered better-quality produce, that better 299
quality may have come at the cost of lower FM accessibility, more-restricted produce 300
variety, and generally higher prices. FMs were open overwhelmingly fewer months, days, 301
and hours than nearby stores, and they offered less than half as many varieties of fresh-302
produce items and fresh-produce categories on average. The produce they did offer often 303
tended towards less-common/more-exotic and heirloom-type cultivars, but even 304
comparatively commonplace produce was generally more expensive than when found in 305
stores. A substantial portion of what FMs offered was not produce at all (fresh or 306
otherwise), but rather refined and processed fare, often with fruits and vegetables only as 307
minor ingredients (e.g., apple-cider donuts) or excluded from ingredient lists altogether 308
(e.g., croissants). Given findings of the current study, it is not clear that FMs contribute 309
positively to an urban food environment. 310
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In terms of FM utilization, distance and transportation can be barriers (J. T. 311
McGuirt, et al., 2014; Racine, Smith Vaughn, & Laditka, 2010). Although Bronx 312
shoppers may not need to travel much further to get to FMs than they would to access 313
nearby food stores, markedly limited hours of operation may discourage FM shopping 314
(Jilcott Pitts, et al., 2014), and might particularly challenge those with 9am-5pm work 315
days. 316
Moreover, FMs might not meet cultural expectations or offer preferred foods in 317
diverse urban communities. Certainly some immigrants may appreciate the FM street-318
vending model and value the sourcing of fresh and natural foods (Park, et al., 2011). 319
However, it seems unlikely that Bronx FMs’exclusive offering of produce from the 320
Northeastern U.S. could completely meet the desires of individuals, for example, hailing 321
from equatorial countries and desiring the tropical fruits and vegetables of their native 322
homelands. It is also unclear if FMs’largely heirloom offerings can satisfy those looking 323
for more-commonly cultivated produce varieties. While the current study did not assess 324
customer desires, FMs would seem to be at a disadvantage to nearby stores with regard to 325
their restricted produce offerings. 326
Beyond possible issues with FM accessibility and produce variety, produce cost 327
may be another barrier to FM purchases (J. T. McGuirt, et al., 2014). FMs’more-exotic 328
produce cost more. But even more-commonplace cultivars were consistently more 329
expensive at FMs than at nearby stores in the current study (although not always by 330
statistically significant margins). Several earlier studies likewise found FM produce to be 331
substantially more expensive (sometimes by a factor of two or more) than produce from 332
16
grocery stores (Wheeler & Chapman-Novakofski, 2014), supermarkets (Pearson, et al., 333
2014), or other fruit-and-vegetable markets (Pearson, et al., 2014). 334
Part of the difference in price between FMs and stores may reflect different 335
agricultural practices used to grow the produce. Both the current study and prior work 336
(Pearson, et al., 2014) suggest that FMs may offer more organic produce than nearby 337
food stores. A study that included an organic FM noted that prices were highest at this 338
FM over all others, and that prices were higher at FMs (offering some organic produce) 339
in general over neighboring supermarket and produce stores (presumably offering less or 340
none) (Millichamp & Gallegos, 2013). The current study shows that FM produce may be 341
comparably expensive whether organic or not, but that store produce is considerably 342
more expensive when organic. 343
There are also non-produce items to consider. In some locales, farmers must be 344
directly involved in the growing or production of any foods they offer at FMs (Pearson & 345
Wilson, 2013), with pre-packaged foods being expressly prohibited (Ruelas, Iverson, 346
Kiekel, & Peters, 2012). But even when such rules exist, they still allow FMs to sell 347
items that are not fresh produce and that are less than ideal for good health (e.g., pies, 348
cakes, cookies, and donuts as long as they are “freshlymade”). The present study 349
showed that refined and processed products were sometimes both promoted items and big 350
sellers at FMs, and represented nearly 1/3 of all FM offerings overall. Other research 351
has shown that even when not available, customers may express desire for such non-352
produce foods at FMs (Ruelas, et al., 2012). 353
The current study had notable strengths. First, it considered all FMs in an urban 354
county rather than a more select sample in a smaller area. Second, investigators 355
17
performed a comprehensive assessment of all foods offered at all FMs, as opposed to 356
focusing on just select produce items (Larsen & Gilliland, 2009; Lee, et al., 2010; 357
Millichamp & Gallegos, 2013; Pearson, et al., 2014; Wheeler & Chapman-Novakofski, 358
2014) or predominant produce varieties (J. McGuirt, et al., 2011); analyses in the current 359
study included almost twice as many distinct fresh-produce items as the next largest 360
study to date (430 items vs. 230 items) (J. McGuirt, et al., 2011). Third, analyses 361
compared FMs to the one or two nearest stores selling fresh produce within walking 362
distance, and considered separately the dimensions of accessibility, variety, quality, and 363
price. Fourth, investigators compared like units in item-specific price analyses (e.g., 364
apples by the lb. to apples by the lb.) rather than using an alternative method that others 365
have used, which makes assumptions about average weights for items sold (Millichamp 366
& Gallegos, 2013; Pearson, et al., 2014; Wheeler & Chapman-Novakofski, 2014). Fifth, 367
investigators conducted price comparisons both overall and pairwise; conducted 368
sensitivity analyses that considered sales prices, produce commonness, and organic 369
status; and confirmed robustness of pairwise findings using non-parametric statistical 370
tests. 371
The current study also had limitations. For instance, in considering differences 372
between FMs and nearby food stores, the research did not assess other potentially 373
important differences that might matter to shoppers, like familiarity of the shopping 374
experience or alignment with cultural values or personal desires. Another limitation was 375
that all data were cross-sectional. Food inventories and prices (and even FM and store 376
locations) could change over time. Also, while retaining sales units (e.g., items by the 377
lb.) for price comparisons was a strength of the analyses, the combination of units (i.e., 378
18
items by the lb. along with items by the pint and by number) for overall summary 379
statistics makes such summary statistics difficult to interpret. To aid in interpretation, 380
purchasing a single lb., pint, or bunch of 10 produce items not-otherwise-specified from 381
an nearby store as opposed to a FM could result in an average savings of $2.40 (i.e., 10 x 382
$0.24). That savings might be as much as $4.30 (10 x $0.43) if the potential customer 383
considers all produce in a given category to be equivalent and does not favor less-384
common/more-exotic and more-expensive cultivars that might only be found at FMs. 385
Still, investigators did not assess actual produce purchasing in the current study and this 386
is a limitation. 387
Other studies have assessed produce purchasingand even produce consumption 388
(at least through self report). For instance, studies evaluating financial incentive 389
programs (e.g., coupons or vouchers), demonstrate at least modestly greater intent to 390
purchase or consumeor reportedly increased purchasing or consumptionof fruits and 391
vegetables among FM incentive recipients (Baronberg, Dunn, Nonas, Dannefer, & Sacks, 392
2013; Freedman, et al., 2011; Freedman, Choi, Hurley, Anadu, & Hebert, 2013; Jones & 393
Bhatia, 2011; Kropf, Holben, Holcomb, & Anderson, 2007; Lindsay, et al., 2013; 394
McCormack, Laska, Larson, & Story, 2010; Racine, et al., 2010; Webber, Balsam, & 395
Oehlke, 1995; Weinstein, Galindo, Fried, Rucker, & Davis, 2014; Wheeler & Chapman-396
Novakofski, 2014; Young, et al., 2013). Other studies suggest that living near a FM is 397
associated with greater produce intake (Gustafson, et al., 2013; Park, et al., 2011; Ruelas, 398
et al., 2012) and that introducing FMs to communities may minimally increase reported 399
consumption of select fruits and vegetables (Evans, et al., 2012). FMs may offer other 400
19
benefits for community nutrition as well, like improving the provision and price of 401
healthy items at surrounding convenience stores (Larsen & Gilliland, 2009). 402
Perhaps for these reasons, there seems to be much enthusiasm for using FMs to 403
improve food environments in communities challenged by healthy-food access (Davis, 404
Cook, & Cohen, 2005; Hood, Martinez-Donate, & Meinen, 2012; McCormack, et al., 405
2010). However, given the results and implications of the current study, it is hard for us 406
to share this enthusiasm. 407
408
Conclusion 409
The results of the current study demonstrate that urban FMs may offer and 410
promote many items that are less-than-ideal for good nutrition and health. Moreover, 411
FMs may carry less-varied, less-common, more-expensive produce in neighborhoods that 412
already have stores with overwhelmingly more hours of operation. Although FMs might 413
increase access to organic produce, and produce that is fresher, their lower accessibility, 414
restricted variety, and higher cost, might provide little net benefit to food environments in 415
urban communities, especially when so much of their inventory is refined and processed 416
non-produce fare. 417
418
20
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 419
The authors would like to offer sincere posthumous thanks to Hope M. Spano of the 420
Hispanic Center of Excellence at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for intern 421
coordination. 422
423
424
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE 425
This publication was made possible by the CTSA Grant UL1 RR025750 and KL2 426
RR025749 and TL1 RR025748 from the National Center for Research Resources 427
(NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and NIH Roadmap for 428
Medical Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not 429
necessarily represent the official view of the NCRR or NIH. 430
431
432
433
CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT 434
None of the authors have any real or perceived conflicts of interest to disclose. 435
21
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564
24
FIGURE1.BronxFarmers’Markets(FMs)andnearby stores selling fresh 565
produce 566
567
There were 26 FMs across the 42 mi2 of the Bronx. All FMs were well within a half mile of at 568
least one store selling fresh produce (mean distance to nearest store 0.15 miles, range 0.02 - 0.36 569
miles). The map shows 44 stores (two stores for each of 18 FMs, one store for each of the 570
remaining 8 FMs). 571
572
573
25
FIGURE 2. Broad food classifications of items available across all 26 Bronx FMs 574
575
576
577
Fruit included fresh and dried varieties of generally-sweet, seed-bearing, whole produce (e.g., 578
apples, berries, melons, cherries, plums/prunes, grapes/raisins, fresh and dried apricots, etc.). 579
580
Vegetables included more-savory, seed-bearing, whole produce, which—whilearguably“fruit”581
by strict botanical definitionmany people think of as vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, squashes, 582
peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, corn, bean pods). Vegetables also included true vegetables like 583
shoots (e.g., asparagus), leaves (e.g., lettuces), flower buds (e.g., broccoli), tubers (e.g., potatoes), 584
roots (e.g., carrots), and bulbs (e.g., onions) as well as mushrooms and herbs (e.g., basil, chives, 585
mint, cilantro, and various teas like nettle and sumac). 586
587
Other whole foods included nuts, seeds, eggs, cheeses, and whole-grain products (e.g., granolas, 588
whole-grain breads, oatmeal bars). 589
590
Refined or processed products included non-whole-grain baked sweets (e.g., cakes, cookies, 591
scones, pastries, pies, donuts), savory items (e.g., quiches, croissants, empanadas, tiropitas, hot-592
dog sliders), juices/ciders (e.g., juice mixes, nectars, and juice drinks), sugar-added items (e.g., 593
sugared coconut flakes, sweetened dried banana, sugared peanuts, apricots in syrup), and other 594
concentrated sweets (e.g., molasses, jellies, jams, syrups, and honey). 595
596
597
26
FIGURE 3. Images from aBronxfarmers’market 598
599
600
Left panel: Large display of various juices, nectars, juice mixes, and ciders leading up to a sign 601
for“PIES”. A small displayoffreshvegetablescanbeseenjustbeyondthe“PIES” sign. 602
603
Right Panel: Farmers’-market sign advertising baked sweets and savory items over a table 604
displaying these goods. 605
606
27
Table 1. Fresh produce available at FMs and nearby stores and price comparisons by unit, both overall and pairwisea 607
Produce-item category (or
specific produce item)
Unitb
(per)
Price at
Farmers’
Markets
(mean)
Price at
nearby
stores
(mean)
p value for
mixed-
effect
regression
Pairwise savings at
nearby store(s)
(mean and 95% CI)
p value
for
paired
t-test
p value
for
signed
rank
All Fresh Produce
Any given produce item on
average
Any
$1.95
$1.79
0.293
$0.24c ($0.15 $0.33)
<0.001
<0.001
Any item of a given produce
category on average
Any
$2.02
$1.83
0.388
$0.43c ($0.30 $0.55)
<0.001
<0.001
“Common” Produce Onlyd
Any given produce item on
average
Any
$1.85
$1.79
0.717
$0.24 ($0.15 $0.33)
<0.001
<0.001
Any item of a given produce
category on average
Any
$1.90
$1.83
0.760
$0.41 ($0.28 $0.54)
<0.001
<0.001
“Conventional” Produce Onlye
Any given produce item on
average
Any
$1.95
$1.69
0.025
$0.25 ($0.16 $0.34)
<0.001
<0.001
Any item of a given produce
category on average
Any
$2.02
$1.68
0.034
$0.44 ($0.31 $0.57)
<0.001
<0.001
Select Producef
Any apples
lb.
$1.38
$1.24
0.247
$0.16 ($-0.25 $0.56)
0.408
0.534
Red Delicious apples
lb.
$1.47
$1.33
0.222
$0.27 ($-0.25 $0.79)
0.255
0.176
Any potatoes
lb.
$1.15
$0.52
<0.001
$0.58 ($0.32 $0.84)
<0.001
<0.001
Red potatoes
lb.
$1.26
$0.86
0.002
$0.37 ($-0.30 $1.03)
0.212
0.344
Any onions
lb.
$1.24
$0.70
<0.001
$0.51 ($0.25 $0.78)
<0.001
0.006
Red onions
lb.
$1.20
$0.86
0.010
$0.38 ($-0.26 1.01)
0.175
0.057
Any peppers
lb.
$1.58
$1.35
0.080
$0.33 ($0.02 $0.65)
0.042
0.028
Any tomatoes
lb.
$1.93
$1.29
<0.001
$0.69 ($0.39 $0.99)
<0.001
0.001
Any blueberries
pint
$6.00
$3.24
<0.001
$1.51 ($-4.84 $7.86)
0.204
0.180
Any raspberriesg
pint
$6.25
$2.99
-
Not applicable
-
-
Any parsley
bunch
$1.66
$1.11
<0.001
$0.57 ($0.33 $0.81)
<0.001
0.008
Any cilantro
bunch
$1.58
$0.99
<0.001
$0.60 ($0.34 $0.86)
<0.001
<0.001
Any garlic
bulb
$1.55
$0.27
<0.001
$1.46 ($1.02 $1.90)
<0.001
0.012
Any carrots
bunch
$2.03
$1.23
<0.001
$0.86 ($-0.99 $2.70)
0.107
0.180
Any cucumbers
one
$0.61
$0.57
0.554
$0.11 ($-0.24 $0.47)
0.475
0.524
28
608
a The table is a comparison of the lowest offered prices, excluding sales prices, discounts, or promotions. Overall = comparing the aggregate of 609
all FMs to the aggregate all assessed stores, “pairwise = comparing each FM to its“paired”ornearbystore(s). 610
b All items were priced by unit of weight (e.g., by the lb.), by volume (e.g., by the pint),orbynumber(e.g.,“each” orbythe“bunch”).“Any”isa611
unitless notional concept, conveying the average cost of items priced by weight, volume, and number together in their native units. 612
c When sales, discounts, and promotions were considered, an additional $0.01 savings could be achieved by shopping at stores (both overall and 613
pairwise, both for any given produce item on average and for any item of a given produce category on average). This additional saving resulted 614
from sales prices being available at some stores for some items but at no FMs for any item. 615
d “Common”ProduceOnly included all fresh produce items exceptforthosecategorizedas“less-common/more-exotic”.Please see Appendix 616
Figure 1A for complete list of produce items characterized as less-common/more-exotic 617
e “Conventional”ProduceOnly included all fresh produce items not categorized as organic. 618
f Select Produce items/item categories were among the most common types of fresh produce offered at both FMs and stores by lb, by pint, or by 619
each.
620
g Raspberries were not available at any matched FM-store combinations and were only available at one of the assessed stores in the whole sample, 621
precluding significance testing of mean differences. Other fresh produce items offered by volume units (e.g., by the pint) were likewise 622
essentially only offered at stores (e.g., grape tomatoes) or FMs (e.g., strawberries), not both. 623
624
625
FIGURE1.BronxFarmers’Markets(FMs)andnearby stores selling fresh 1
produce 2
3
There were 26 FMs across the 42 mi2 of the Bronx. All FMs were well within a half mile of at 4
least one store selling fresh produce (mean distance to nearest store 0.15 miles, range 0.02 - 0.36 5
miles). The map shows 44 stores (two stores for each of 18 FMs, one store for each of the 6
remaining 8 FMs). 7
Figure(s)
FIGURE 2. Broad food classifications of items available across all 26 Bronx FMs 1"
2"
3"
4"
Fruit included fresh and dried varieties of generally-sweet, seed-bearing, whole produce (e.g., 5"
apples, berries, melons, cherries, plums/prunes, grapes/raisins, fresh and dried apricots, etc.). 6"
7"
Vegetables included more-savory, seed-bearing, whole produce, whichwhile arguably “fruit” 8"
by strict botanical definitionmany people think of as vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, squashes, 9"
peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, corn, bean pods). Vegetables also included true vegetables like 10"
shoots (e.g., asparagus), leaves (e.g., lettuces), flower buds (e.g., broccoli), tubers (e.g., potatoes), 11"
roots (e.g., carrots), and bulbs (e.g., onions) as well as mushrooms and herbs (e.g., basil, chives, 12"
mint, cilantro, and various teas like nettle and sumac). 13"
14"
Other whole foods included nuts, seeds, eggs, cheeses, and whole-grain products (e.g., granolas, 15"
whole-grain breads, oatmeal bars). 16"
17"
Refined or processed products included non-whole-grain baked sweets (e.g., cakes, cookies, 18"
scones, pastries, pies, donuts), savory items (e.g., quiches, croissants, empanadas, tiropitas, hot-19"
dog sliders), juice drinks (e.g., juice mixes, nectars, and ciders), sugar-added items (e.g., sugared 20"
coconut flakes, sweetened dried banana, sugared peanuts, apricots in syrup), and other 21"
concentrated sweets (e.g., molasses, jellies, jams, syrups, and honey). 22"
FIGURE 3. Images from aBronxfarmers’market 1
2
3
Left panel: Large display of various juices, nectars, juice mixes, and ciders leading up to a sign 4
for“PIES”. A small displayoffreshvegetablescanbeseenjustbeyondthe“PIES” sign. 5
6
Right Panel: Farmers’-market sign advertising baked sweets and savory items over a table 7
displaying these goods. 8
Figure(s)
1
Table 1. Fresh produce available at FMs and nearby stores and price comparisons by unit, both overall and pairwisea 1
Produce-item category (or
specific produce item)
Unitb
(per)
Price at
Farmers’
Markets
(mean)
Price at
nearby
stores
(mean)
p value for
mixed-
effect
regression
Pairwise savings at
nearby store(s)
(mean and 95% CI)
p value
for
paired
t-test
p value
for
signed
rank
All Fresh Produce
Any given produce item on
average
Any
$1.95
$1.79
0.293
$0.24c ($0.15 $0.33)
<0.001
<0.001
Any item of a given produce
category on average
Any
$2.02
$1.83
0.388
$0.43c ($0.30 $0.55)
<0.001
<0.001
“Common” Produce Onlyd
Any given produce item on
average
Any
$1.85
$1.79
0.717
$0.24 ($0.15 $0.33)
<0.001
<0.001
Any item of a given produce
category on average
Any
$1.90
$1.83
0.760
$0.41 ($0.28 $0.54)
<0.001
<0.001
“Conventional” Produce Onlye
Any given produce item on
average
Any
$1.95
$1.69
0.025
$0.25 ($0.16 $0.34)
<0.001
<0.001
Any item of a given produce
category on average
Any
$2.02
$1.68
0.034
$0.44 ($0.31 $0.57)
<0.001
<0.001
Select Producef
Any apples
lb.
$1.38
$1.24
0.247
$0.16 ($-0.25 $0.56)
0.408
0.534
Red Delicious apples
lb.
$1.47
$1.33
0.222
$0.27 ($-0.25 $0.79)
0.255
0.176
Any potatoes
lb.
$1.15
$0.52
<0.001
$0.58 ($0.32 $0.84)
<0.001
<0.001
Red potatoes
lb.
$1.26
$0.86
0.002
$0.37 ($-0.30 $1.03)
0.212
0.344
Any onions
lb.
$1.24
$0.70
<0.001
$0.51 ($0.25 $0.78)
<0.001
0.006
Red onions
lb.
$1.20
$0.86
0.010
$0.38 ($-0.26 1.01)
0.175
0.057
Any peppers
lb.
$1.58
$1.35
0.080
$0.33 ($0.02 $0.65)
0.042
0.028
Any tomatoes
lb.
$1.93
$1.29
<0.001
$0.69 ($0.39 $0.99)
<0.001
0.001
Any blueberries
pint
$6.00
$3.24
<0.001
$1.51 ($-4.84 $7.86)
0.204
0.180
Any raspberriesg
pint
$6.25
$2.99
-
Not applicable
-
-
Any parsley
bunch
$1.66
$1.11
<0.001
$0.57 ($0.33 $0.81)
<0.001
0.008
Any cilantro
bunch
$1.58
$0.99
<0.001
$0.60 ($0.34 $0.86)
<0.001
<0.001
Any garlic
bulb
$1.55
$0.27
<0.001
$1.46 ($1.02 $1.90)
<0.001
0.012
Any carrots
bunch
$2.03
$1.23
<0.001
$0.86 ($-0.99 $2.70)
0.107
0.180
Any cucumbers
one
$0.61
$0.57
0.554
$0.11 ($-0.24 $0.47)
0.475
0.524
Table(s)
2
2
a The table is a comparison of the lowest offered prices, excluding sales prices, discounts, or promotions. Overall = comparing the aggregate of 3
all FMs to the aggregate all assessed stores, “pairwise = comparing each FM to its“paired”ornearbystore(s). 4
b All items were priced by unit of weight (e.g., by the lb.), by volume (e.g., by the pint),orbynumber(e.g.,“each” orbythe“bunch”).“Any”isa5
unitless notional concept, conveying the average cost of items priced by weight, volume, and number together in their native units. 6
c When sales, discounts, and promotions were considered, an additional $0.01 savings could be achieved by shopping at stores (both overall and 7
pairwise, both for any given produce item on average and for any item of a given produce category on average). This additional saving resulted 8
from sales prices being available at some stores for some items but at no FMs for any item. 9
d “Common”ProduceOnly included all fresh produce items exceptforthosecategorizedas“less-common/more-exotic”.Please see Appendix 10
Figure 1A for complete list of produce items characterized as less-common/more-exotic 11
e “Conventional”ProduceOnly included all fresh produce items not categorized as organic. 12
f Select Produce items/item categories were among the most common types of fresh produce offered at both FMs and stores by lb, by pint, or by 13
each.
14
g Raspberries were not available at any matched FM-store combinations and were only available at one of the assessed stores in the whole sample, 15
precluding significance testing of mean differences. Other fresh produce items offered by volume units (e.g., by the pint) were likewise 16
essentially only offered at stores (e.g., grape tomatoes) or FMs (e.g., strawberries), not both. 17
APPENDIX
Figure 1A: List of less-common/more-exotic fresh produce varieties offered at
farmers’ markets and nearby stores in the Bronxa
apple:cameo
apple:cortland
apple:crispin
apple:empireb
apple:ginger gold
apple:ida red
apple:jonagold
apple:marshall
apple:winesap
beet:golden
beet:orange
beet:white
carrot:purple
carrot:redb
carrot:white
carrot:yellow
cauliflower:cheddar
cauliflower:violet queen
cherry:sour
cherry:white
eggplant:neon
eggplant:spanish
eggplant:zebra
epazoteb
garlic scape
garlic:elephant
garlic:green
gooseberry
grape:ribierc
hierba mora
kale:red
kale:red russian
kale:tuscan
lamb's quarter
mustard greens:red
nectarine:whitec
onion:sweet red italian
peach-a-rinec
peach:saturnb
peach:whiteb
pepper:hungarian
pipicha
plum:golden
plum:green shiro
plum:whiteb
plum:wishi washi
potato:purple
purslane
radish:french breakfast
rue(ruda)
scallion:red
sorrel
spilanthes
squash blossom
squash:grayc
squash:lita
squash:patty pan
sumac
swiss chard:rainbow
swiss chard:redb
swiss chard:white
swiss chard:yellow
tomato:yellow
travisio
watermelon:yellow
!
a All items available at farmers’ markets unless otherwise indicated
b Items also offered by at least one store in the sample
c Items available at store(s) in the sample; not offered at any of the farmers’ markets
... However, this question has yet to be answered definitively, as studies examining price differences between farmers' markets and supermarkets to date have had mixed results. Some find higher prices at farmers' markets [32,33], others find lower prices [34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41], no significant differences [42,43], or mixed results, with some items more expensive at farmers' markets and others cheaper [44][45][46]. In addition, FV prices often differ between organic and conventional FV [47]. ...
... Our results differ from previous findings by others who found smaller proportions of organic FV sold at farmers' markets. Lucan et al. (2015) found that only 3.1% of fresh fruit and 7.9% of fresh vegetables sold at farmers' markets were organic, in Bronx County, New York [32], and Claro et al. (2011) observed that 53% of selected FV items were organic at sampled farmers' markets in Vermont [44]. By contrast, we found that a median of 82% of the selected FV items were organic at our sampled farmers' markets in California. ...
... Our results differ from previous findings by others who found smaller proportions of organic FV sold at farmers' markets. Lucan et al. (2015) found that only 3.1% of fresh fruit and 7.9% of fresh vegetables sold at farmers' markets were organic, in Bronx County, New York [32], and Claro et al. (2011) observed that 53% of selected FV items were organic at sampled farmers' markets in Vermont [44]. By contrast, we found that a median of 82% of the selected FV items were organic at our sampled farmers' markets in California. ...
Article
This cross-sectional study was part of a larger evaluation of a fruit and vegetable (FV) incentive program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants in California. We examined the price differences in FV to explore whether these could help explain a previously observed lack of effect of the incentive program on FV consumption. Differences by type (organic/no-spray or conventional), among a convenience sample of farmers' markets (n = 11) and nearby supermarkets (n = 7), were assessed using Wilcoxon rank-sum tests adjusting for clustering by market. We calculated the cost of market baskets comprising recommended FV servings for a household using median prices to consider the implications of FV price differences for SNAP shoppers who use financial incentives for FV. We found that farmers' markets primarily offered organic FV while supermarkets primarily offered conventionally grown FV. Farmers' market prices tended to be lower than supermarkets for organic FV but higher for conventional FV. Compared to supermarkets, the market basket composed only of organic FV cost USD 16.34 less at farmers' markets, whereas a basket comprised of a mix of conventionally and organically grown FV cost USD 3.68 more. These differences warrant further exploration; FV price and type should be considered in studies aimed at understanding the impact of SNAP financial incentive programs.
... In total, 17 studies described 13 instruments to classify how healthy/unhealthy are foods and/or beverages available within the informal food environment. The most common types of outlets considered in these reports were street food vendors, [38,41,42,48,50] farmers markets, [44,45,48,49] open-air markets, [33][34][35], and mobile food vendors [33, 35, 36, 38, 41-43, 45, 46, 50, 52]. Tools included the Obesogenic Environment Studyobservational tool for stores (ESAO-S), [33][34][35] different versions of the New Food Classification (NOVA), [36,38,39] adapted versions of Nutrition Environment Measures Survey -stores (NEMS-S), [43,48] tools for farmers markets, [44,49] standard Audit Forms for farmers markets, [50] the Food Retail Outlet Survey Tool (FROST), [45] assessment tool in US, [46] and audit tools from different countries [41,42,51,52]. ...
... The most common types of outlets considered in these reports were street food vendors, [38,41,42,48,50] farmers markets, [44,45,48,49] open-air markets, [33][34][35], and mobile food vendors [33, 35, 36, 38, 41-43, 45, 46, 50, 52]. Tools included the Obesogenic Environment Studyobservational tool for stores (ESAO-S), [33][34][35] different versions of the New Food Classification (NOVA), [36,38,39] adapted versions of Nutrition Environment Measures Survey -stores (NEMS-S), [43,48] tools for farmers markets, [44,49] standard Audit Forms for farmers markets, [50] the Food Retail Outlet Survey Tool (FROST), [45] assessment tool in US, [46] and audit tools from different countries [41,42,51,52]. Six instruments were used in the Brazilian context [33-36, 39, 48]. ...
... Some instruments classified available and types of food and beverages as healthy and unhealthy [33-35, 43, 45, 46, 48-52] or produce (such as fresh products)/ non-produce (such as processed food) [44]. Others used the NOVA classification based on food processing [36,38,39]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Informal food outlets, defined as vendors who rarely have access to water and toilets, much less shelter and electricity, are a common component of the food environment, particularly in many non-Western countries. The purpose of this study was to review available instruments that measure the quality and particularly the healthfulness of food and beverages sold within informal food outlets. Methods PubMed, LILACS, Web of Science, and Scopus databases were used. Articles were included if they reported instruments that measured the availability or type of healthy and unhealthy foods and beverages by informal food outlets, were written in English or Spanish, and published between January 1, 2010, and July 31, 2020. Two trained researchers reviewed the title, abstract and full text of selected articles; discrepancies were solved by two independent researchers. In addition, the list of references for selected articles was reviewed for any additional articles of relevance. The quality of published articles and documents was evaluated using JBI Critical appraisal checklist for analytical cross-sectional studies. Results We identified 1078 articles of which 14 were included after applying the selection criteria. Three additional articles were considered after reviewing the references from the selected articles. From the final 17 articles, 13 measurement tools were identified. Most of the instruments were used in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Products were classified as healthy/unhealthy or produce/non-produce or processed/unprocessed based on availability and type. Six studies reported psychometric tests, whereas one was tested within the informal food sector. Conclusions Few instruments can measure the healthfulness of food and beverages sold in informal food outlets, of which the most valid and reliable have been used to measure formal food outlets as well. Therefore, it is necessary to develop an instrument that manages to measure, specifically, the elements available within an informal one. These actions are extremely important to better understand the food environment that is a central contributor to poor diets that are increasingly associated with the obesity and Non-communicable disease (NCD) pandemic.
... It is relevant to take into account that the analysis of the food offer, based on the information available in the products and retail sales points, is a practice that has been used in empirical data collection in various studies. Thus, determining the attributes and aspects valued such as type of product, price, amount, brand, packaging, origin, expiration date, place of the distribution chains where the product is found, position of the line/shelf, other important data on the label ( T3 Table 3); studies conducted with organic foods, wines and saffron, among others, are taken as reference (Camarena-G omez et al., 2020;Lucan et al., 2015;Duran et al., 2015;Sanju an-L opez et al., 2009 inter alia). It should be highlighted that the classification of innovations that the offer of traditional foods in Sonora presents is an empirical application about which there are no academic antecedents. ...
Article
Purpose The main objective of this paper is to analyse the relationship between innovation and traditional concepts to explain the phenomenon of traditional food with innovation from a market and consumer behaviour perspective in the Mexican context. Design/methodology/approach The research is carried out in two phases: (1) analysis of the offer in distribution and (2) consumer research. First, a mixed observation technique in the offer of traditional foods with innovation was carried out. The data were recollected from 24 companies' websites and was complemented with information from main distribution chains of the city of Hermosillo (Mexico). Second, a survey was carried out with 310 Mexican consumers. The data obtained were analysed using bi-variable and multivariable techniques. Findings The findings from the websites showed that there are 19 traditional products with innovation that are marketed through this medium, while 39 traditional products with innovation are offered in distribution chains. Of all foods, 61% showed innovations in ingredients and materials. Also, the consumer evaluations identified three segments: the consumers orientated towards innovations, convenience and health (42.2%), those orientated towards sensory innovations (39%), and those more inclined towards innovations in marketing and availability (18.7%). Research limitations/implications The research considers a partial perspective of the agri-food chain and not an integral vision, it is limited to a specific area and to certain traditional foods. Practical implications The symbiosis between innovation and tradition is identified from the perspective of supply and demand. The trend that exists in the market regarding the types of innovations and the gaps that exist regarding environmental elements are recognized. Social implications The data obtained in the research generate information for business decision-making and entrepreneurship; in addition indicates new dietary and consumption patterns. It also provides knowledge about innovation and tradition, and highlights the relevance of traditional food. Originality/value This study tries to fill a gap in the literature by focusing on the market and consumer behaviour perspective for traditional food with innovation.
... Open air-markets have a consistent disadvantage when competing with other types of food outlet, since they do not have a permanent structure and are thus only to be seen on specific days of the week, during specific hours, limiting markets' influence on consumers' purchasing behavior. A study assessing the potential contribution of markets to an urban food environment in terms of accessibility, produce variety, quality, and price, revealed that markets were open substantially fewer months, days, and hours, offered fewer fresh produce items, and were, on average, more expensive than other nearby stores offering fresh produce [50]. Depending on the markets, the food offer can substantially vary across and within countries, ranging from exclusively or mainly FV, to a large range of products including foods high in fat, sugar and salt (e.g. ...
Article
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... Another body of literature on this topic is the 'food justice' literature, which "views the food system itself as a racial project and problematizes the influence of race and class on the production, distribution and consumption of food" (Alkon & Agyeman, 2011, p. 5). This literature largely focuses on what scholars perceive as the exclusion of poor ethnic minorities in accessing particularly alternative food networks such as local farmers markets (Dowler, 2008;Duell, 2013;Lucan, Maroko, Sanon, Frias, & Schechter, 2015;Mata, 2013). In this context, inclusion seems to refer to the ability for everyone to participate in the alternative agrifood movement (Hughes, 2010). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
As cities are growing in size and changing in demographic composition, new responsibilities in the field of food and inclusiveness emerge. While their populations get more diverse, urban governments are struggling with their newly emerging governance task around food system transformation towards health and sustainability. With this increasing urban diversity, residents from lower socio-economic positions and from ethnic minority groups appear to lag in healthy as well as sustainable diets, and are underrepresented in food policy development. These apparent inequalities pose challenges to the food system transformation needed at the urban level, and have led to the call for more inclusiveness in urban food systems. However, precisely what it means to be more inclusive appears not to be very well defined. This thesis therefore explores dynamics of in- and exclusion that occur within and through social practices around food, i.e. food consumption and governance practices. The primary empirical context for studying these questions is the Dutch city of Almere. Theoretically, the thesis primarily builds on social practice theories and additionally uses Manuel Castells’ network theory of power. Methodologically, the thesis relies on a mix of primarily qualitative methods. The thesis concludes that inclusiveness is elusive: what constitutes in- and exclusion is nuanced and dynamic as it is negotiated in a variety of everyday food practices. To realize more effective urban food governance, it is essential to observe more closely what is happening in the diverse urban food consumption practices across all citizen groups, to ultimately indicate multiple pathways of transition to a healthier and more sustainable food system. It is necessary to look for alternatives to the formalized food governance practices that better align with the variety of current and future food consumption practices.
... Open air-markets have a consistent disadvantage when competing with other types of food outlet, since they do not have a permanent structure and are thus only to be seen on specific days of the week, during specific hours, limiting markets' influence on consumers' purchasing behavior. A study assessing the potential contribution of markets to an urban food environment in terms of accessibility, produce variety, quality, and price, revealed that markets were open substantially fewer months, days, and hours, offered fewer fresh produce items, and were, on average, more expensive than other nearby stores offering fresh produce [50]. Depending on the markets, the food offer can substantially vary across and within countries, ranging from exclusively or mainly FV, to a large range of products including foods high in fat, sugar and salt (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess whether the retail food environment, measured by multiple indicators around the home and in activity space, was associated with the nutritional quality of food purchases. Methods: This cross-sectional study included 462 households from a quota sampling survey conducted in the south of France (Montpellier Metropolitan Area). The revised Healthy Purchase Index was implemented in order to assess the nutritional quality of food purchases. Food environment indicators (presence, number, relative density and proximity of food outlets) were calculated around the home and in activity space using a geographical information system. Six different types of food outlets were studied: supermarkets, markets, greengrocers, bakeries, other specialized food stores (butcher's, fishmonger's and dairy stores) and small grocery stores. Associations between food environment and the nutritional quality of food purchases were assessed using multilevel models, and geographically weighted regressions to account for spatial non-stationarity. Models were adjusted for households' socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Results: The nutritional quality of food purchases was positively associated with the number of greengrocers around the home (1 vs. 0: β = 0.25, 95%CI = [0.01, 0.49]; >1 vs. 0: β = 0.25, 95%CI = [0.00, 0.50]), but negatively associated with the number of markets around the home (1 vs. 0: β = -0.20, 95%CI = [-0.40, 0.00]; >1 vs. 0: β = -0.37, 95%CI = [-0.69, -0.06]). These associations varied across space in the area studied. For lower income households, the number of greengrocers in activity space was positively associated with the nutritional quality of food purchases (1 vs. 0: β = 0.70, 95%CI = [0.12, 1.3]; >1 vs. 0: β = 0.67, 95%CI = [0.22, 1.1]). Conclusions: Greengrocers might be an effective type of food store for promoting healthier dietary behaviors. Further studies, particularly interventional studies, are needed to confirm these results in order to guide public health policies in actions designed to improve the food environment.
... The emergence of cost as a key determinant of potential product purchases suggests that price will need to remain at the forefront of VAP programs such as that piloted for this study (Lucan et al., 2015). Finding the right price point for locally sourced VAPs requires balancing the need for revenue for farmers and food manufacturers with the imperative to maintain affordable community access to the VAPs produced. ...
Article
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