Consumer and Producer Information-Sharing Preferences at Arizona Farmers Markets
AbstractVenues allowing consumers to purchase foods directly from producers, such as farmers markets, have grown rapidly in recent years. Direct-to-consumer marketing not only allows consumers to buy locally produced foods; it also facilitates interaction with producers through which consumers can learn more information about the foods they buy. Although information exchange is important in consumer purchasing decisions, little research has been conducted on information consumers and producers would like to share at farmers markets. This mixed-methods survey study (i.e., including quantitative and qualitative methods) explored interests of both consumers and producers regarding the types of information they would like to learn or share at farmers markets, as well as preferred methods by which they would like this information communicated. Quantitative results showed that consumers and producers were most interested in sharing information regarding pesticide use, flavor, freshness, food safety, animal welfare, nutrition, and environmental impacts; qualitative results indicated consumers were strongly interested in local sourcing, organic production, and animal care. Both groups were interested in sharing information via consumer-initiated conversations. Consumers noted purchasing needs and vendor relationships as drivers for choosing which producers to buy from. These findings could facilitate consumer-producer interactions at farmers markets as well as informed purchasing decisions by consumers.
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