Study shows markets have lower vegetable prices than supermarkets

March 25, 2014
Study of 1000s of NZ fruit & vege prices shows markets best value
Weekly costs for fruit and vegetables for 2 adults and 2 children from different outlets.

A family of four could save as much as $49 per week by buying their fruit and vegetables at markets other than from a supermarket, a University of Otago Wellington study shows.

The study collected 3120 prices for fruit and vegetables at markets and in Wellington and Christchurch. It found that commonly purchased produce such as apples, oranges, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes were on average significantly cheaper at fruit and vegetable markets compared to supermarkets in Wellington and Christchurch.

The researchers developed a hypothetical weekly "shopping basket" for a two adult, two child family containing ideal amounts of from a health perspective. They then compared the costs of the basket at various outlets.

Fruit and vegetable markets were the cheapest at $76 per weekly basket. Online supermarkets were the next cheapest at $113, although this could be offset by delivery charges, says one of the study's authors, Dr Amber Pearson. The difference between the cost of the basket at a fruit and vege market compared to a supermarket was $49 less at the market.

Farmers' markets that sell from local growers were the most expensive of the outlets studied, at $138 per basket. But a third of the items in the basket were still significantly cheaper than supermarkets, including cauliflower, silverbeet, spinach, cucumber and pumpkin.

Study of 1000s of NZ fruit & vege prices shows markets best value

The researchers note that also have the advantages of expanding consumer choice by providing more access to local produce and more "organic" produce – with such having lower pesticide levels.

Another author of the study, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, says there is strong scientific evidence that high fruit and vegetable consumption protects against heart disease, stroke and some cancers, but the reality is that it isn't always easy for to buy enough of this produce.

One way to overcome this cost barrier is for New Zealand to explore following the approach of some US jurisdictions where fruit and vege vouchers are provided to low-income people, he says.

"If these are usable at markets, then this can help support local growers as well – so it can be good for regional employment."

Another approach is for local government to increase support for fruit and vege markets in various ways – something that some Councils in parts of the country have already done by providing free space for holding markets.

In summarising the research, Dr Pearson says there is a need for society to better understand the benefits of and vegetable markets for health – "but also in terms of wider benefits such as supporting local agriculture and building community cohesion".

Explore further: Lower-grade fruit availability may not increase consumption

More information: Pearson AL, Winter PR, McBreen B, Stewart G, Roets R, et al. (2014) "Obtaining Fruit and Vegetables for the Lowest Prices: Pricing Survey of Different Outlets and Geographical Analysis of Competition Effects." PLoS ONE 9(3): e89775. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089775

Related Stories

Lower-grade fruit availability may not increase consumption

February 28, 2014
New research suggests that increasing the availability of lower grade fresh fruit and vegetables may not be the answer to increasing its consumption.

Distance to supermarket makes no difference to diet quality, study says

March 17, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Public health experts have assumed that living close to a supermarket is linked to a better diet and lower obesity. The closer you lived to one, the theory went, the more likely you were to eat more fruits ...

Ease of access improves fruit and vegetable consumption

September 3, 2013
Low-income communities have particular problems getting adequate fruits and vegetables because of limited access to supermarkets and farmers markets. A new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that community-supported ...

Farmers' market coupons up produce purchases for poor

September 15, 2013
(HealthDay)—Health Bucks, a farmers' market incentive coupon program, increases access to produce in low-income communities, according to research published online Aug. 29 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ...

New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption

March 4, 2014
New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. ...

Recommended for you

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

July 18, 2017
Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found ...

Study: Eating at 'wrong time' affects body weight, circadian rhythms

July 18, 2017
A new high-precision feeding system for lab mice reinforces the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.