Category Archives: Distribution

Gómez in London to talk about expanding locally grown

The Perishable Pundit highlights Miguel Gómez’ upcoming presentation at the London Produce Show. PP Jim Prevor summarizes it as The Renaissance Of The Wholesale Sector — Why Those Who Support ‘Locally Grown’ Should Support Investment In Market Intermediaries.

The wholesale produce trade that is present at the New York and London Produce Shows is keenly interested in the economic results coming out of the Eastern Broccoli Project. Prevor writes “[Gómez] has been a superstar in New York, informing, educating and beguiling industry members.”

Miguel will explore the dilemma faced by farmers who are serving their local consumers through farmers markets and CSAs.

The goal is to connect local food systems to the mainstream distribution system. Markets where consumers buy directly from farmers are very limited in terms of volume, availability, and in terms of sustained economic viability for the farmer, who lives only out of these markets.
Margins are very thin, and the markets are easily inundated with excess supply. So the markets are restricted on the amount of farmers that can participate in going direct to consumers.

The concept does not fit the normal narrative for either the farmers market community nor the supermarket community. Therefore, bringing change that benefits consumers, small farmers, and supermarkets will take transdisciplinary assistance of the kind we have been developing in the Eastern Broccoli Project.

What do Eastern consumers want?

Prof. Miguel Gómez, team member in the Dyson School of Applied economics is determining what qualities Eastern consumers look for in their broccoli, and what variation from the Western standard they accept. The results will inform the breeding process, and perhaps identify types that will be well accepted in the US East Coast that are not accepted in East Asia.

With graduate student Xiaoli Fan, he is running auctions of broccoli types to asses consumer’s relative willingness to pay for different appearances.

Consumers were presented with three types of broccoli for consideration. A: New type with large beads and lighter green; grown in New York. B: Perfect appearance by current standards, but has been shipped across country; grown in California. C: Conventional broccoli with mixed large and small flower buds, a defect common in the East; grown in New York.
Consumers at each station have small parboiled samples of each broccoli. Many find that the local broccoli has a milder and fresher flavor.
Xiaoli Fan (right), a doctoral student on the project, leads the experiment. Graduate assistant Adeline Yeh presents head of the three types to consumers for inspection as they prepare to bid.
Consumers on the panel are members of the community. Students were excluded, since they were not considered representative broccoli purchasers.

Webinar on U.S. Food Distribution System

One goal of this project is to increase the availability of eastern-grown broccoli in eastern markets. But how does that broccoli get from the site of production to the point of purchase by consumers?

In a webinar available for viewing on the project website, economist Miguel Gómez discusses the history and evolution of the U.S. food distribution system, the organization and behavior of its three main channels, and the role of intermediaries in bringing food products from the farm to the American table.

Case studies explain how one retail chain has impacted the structure of the distribution system; why changes in product supply are not always reflected in retail prices; why sales of private label products are growing; and how Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs have increased opportunities for growers to market directly to consumers.

The presentation includes an exploration of trends in food expenditures and concludes with projections from industry executives on expected changes in retail food distribution.

To stream the webinar or view a pdf of the slides, visit the project reports page of the website and click on the appropriate link.