One of the biggest challenges that farmers are faced with today, is in the area of marketing their agricultural produce. Producing a high-quality product is very important but it is just a fraction of what ensures profitability. There are various stages that most agricultural products have to pass through before they get to the consumer. As a result, there is an increase in the price of handling, storing, transporting, and distributing food supplies. This often leads to a hike in the prices of food products and low revenue/profit for the farmers.
The farm-to-consumer marketing channel has played a large role in the distribution of agricultural products for decades. However, the use of this mode of distribution has increased substantially over the past few years due to its ability to provide consumers with fresher, healthier foods and a stronger connection between producers and consumers.
In this article, we will be discussing the various direct farm-to-consumer marketing channels as well as their effect on sales at local producers of agricultural products like fruits and vegetables.
What is farm-to-consumer marketing?
Farm-to-consumer marketing is a way in which farmers their farm produce/products directly to consumers. Consumers are becoming more concerned about where their food is coming from; many farms are seeing an increase in demand for their produce. In response to this increased demand, some farmers have begun direct farm-to-consumer marketing channels.
These channels allow the farmer to sell directly to consumers and bypass the traditional retail/wholesale system.
- Pick-Your-Own farms
- Roadside stalls
- Farmer’s markets
- Online farmer’s marketplaces
- On-farm markets.
1. Pick-Your-Own farms
Pick-your-own farms are farms that allow consumers to walk around and pick their produce. This is a great way for the farmer to connect directly with the consumer, and it also allows him/her to sell whatever product they have available at any given time.
The pick-your-own farm offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Many pick-your-own farms are located in rural areas, though some urban ones do exist. While most pick-your-own farms are open during the summer months, you may be able to find one that is open year-round.
Some pick-your-own farms have attractions such as hayrides or petting zoos to keep guests entertained while they’re doing their harvesting or picking duties
2. Roadside booths/stalls
For those who want to make a few extra bucks, roadside marketing is a great way to do it. Roadside stalls are much like farmers’ markets or roadside stands, with the main difference being that they can be set up without any approval from local authorities. This also means that you have to be careful about what you sell and how you advertise your products as there’s not much oversight when it comes to roadside marketing.
One advantage of roadside stalls is that they allow farmers access to markets that would otherwise be inaccessible thanks to strict regulations on food safety and quality control. For example, if an entire city has banned imported vegetables after several cases of E-coli infections were linked with these vegetables (like in California), then roadside stalls are one way for people living outside this area to obtain fresh produce such as lettuce or tomatoes at affordable prices!
Roadside marketing does come with some disadvantages though: namely traffic noise pollution from passing vehicles could lead some customers away from buying products at these markets due quickly decreasing shelf life due lack of refrigeration units available near most urban locations where these types exist.
3. Farmers’ market
A farmer’s market is a place where farmers sell their farm-fresh products directly to consumers. Farmers’ markets have become increasingly popular as consumers look for fresh and healthier foods that are produced locally. According to the USDA, there were approximately 7,500 farmers’ markets in the U.S. in 2010 with an estimated $1 billion in sales (USDA/NASS). Farmers’ markets are typically small-scale operations where producers sell directly to consumers. Items like fruits, vegetables, flowers, nursery products, eggs, and dairy products are typically offered through direct marketing channels.
The benefits of a farmer’s market include:
● Transparency and accountability; consumers have direct access to the source of their food and can meet farmers face-to-face.
● Supporting local businesses and economies; this increases the tax revenue that your community receives as well as helps you to know where you spend your money.
● Accessibility; many people who cannot easily access grocery stores due to location or income can shop at a local farmer’s market because it is convenient for them.
● Community interaction; some people enjoy visiting with friends at their favorite market, making it more than just about shopping for produce!
4. Online farmers market
An online farmers market is a marketplace where farmers and consumers can connect to sell local produce and food products. Online farmers’ markets are usually facilitated by a platform that simplifies the transactions, but they can also be a place where direct sales are made between producers and consumers. There are a couple of online farmers’ market platforms in the United States that connect farmers directly to consumers, one of which is Local chow. Local chow is a food technology company committed to revolutionizing the food industry by localizing food to promote a more sustainable, healthier, and more stabilized food supply system.
Benefits Of Farm-To-Consumer Marketing On Farm Sales
- Increase in financial returns from farm production. The opportunity to increase returns stems both from reducing marketing costs attributed to “middlemen” and from consumer desire to buy riper, fresher fruits, vegetables, and other commodities. This allows for increased income as farmers get to make more profit from selling directly to the consumers.
- Direct marketing may be an outlet for products that do not attract commercial buyers. For example, consumers often desire products that vary from commercial standards in size, maturity, appearance, volume, and grade.
- Improves product quality: One of the biggest benefits of direct farm-to-consumer marketing on farms is improving product quality. The ability to control how your crops are grown and what goes into making your food can mean a higher quality product for you, with less waste and fewer chemicals. For example, if you choose not to use pesticides in your garden or on your property (which many people do), then you can be sure that all of the products you sell have been grown without them, thus providing a better-tasting product.
- Consistency in the supply of quality products: One of the biggest benefits of direct farm-to-consumer marketing is that it can provide a consistent supply of quality products. This is important because it gives customers confidence in the products they are purchasing, and helps them build trust in your brand. It also ensures that you have a steady flow of income coming in so that you can meet all your expenses without having to worry about sales cycles or seasons.
- It can serve as an additional market channel for producers to use in addition to selling to wholesalers and food processors.
- Farmers have full ownership of their businesses and operations: One of the biggest benefits of direct farm-to-consumer marketing on farm sales is that farmers have full ownership and control over their businesses. Farmers can decide what they grow, how much they sell when they sell it, and how much profit they make from each sale. In most cases, this means being in control of every aspect of your business including what to grow, how much you grow, the products they want to sell, and determining the profit they make from each sale.
- Fosters relationship with consumers. This means that farmers can communicate directly with their customers about the benefits of their products, and can also tailor the product to each customer’s needs. For example, if there is demand for organic produce in one area but not another, direct farm-to-consumer marketing will enable farmers to supply the organic produce only where it is in demand.
- Flexibility within marketing operations: Another benefit of direct farm-to-consumer marketing on farm sales is flexibility. Farmers can sell their products directly to consumers, or they can choose how much they want to sell and when they want to sell them. Some farmers may choose not to participate in any off-farm channels, while others might only sell some products through alternative channels and keep other items exclusively for themselves. Even if you are selling through multiple channels, you will still have the ability to make important choices about which products will go where based on your goals and objectives for each product line.
How To Start A Direct-To-Consumer Marketing For Farmers
Direct to Consumer marketing channels have proven to be quite effective in increasing farm sales and profitability for farmers over the years. With channels such as Farmers’ markets, On-farm sales, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Roadside stalls, and online farmers’ marketplace. Etc., as mentioned above.
For farmers that are seeking to take their business online to boost their sales and increase their reach by signing up to Local chow!
To join local chow is Easy and Free!
You can start by following these few simple steps:
- Download the app on your phone from the Playstore or Appstore.
- Sign up to add your information to the site and build your profile.
- You will get verified, after which you can start displaying and selling your products.
On local chow, Farmers may list their products, advertise their farm and brand, manage orders and deliveries, receive payments, and maintain inventory all from the application.
Direct farm-to-consumer marketing has made quite an impact significant impact on farm sales. With more farmers recording tremendous growth, as studies have shown that farmers who participated in these sorts of outlets had an average increase of 17% in their annual sales and profit in their businesses, it’s evident that the D2C model is here to stay.