Online Retailing and Local Food: How Farmers can Capitalize

Project: Research project

Description

Expanding the consumption of local foods entails many benefits: reducing greenhouse gas production, delivering fresher food attuned to local tastes, and contributing to the local farm economy are but three. Despite public policy efforts to promote the purchase of local foods through direct channels (eg., farmers markets), direct sales have reached a plateau (Thilmany McFadden 2015), while sales of intermediated local foods -- through retailers, restaurants, and food service operations -- continue to grow rapidly (Low and Vogel 2011). We propose to examine intermediated local food supply network design in order to increase the amount of value created for farmers, local food economies, retailers, and consumers. Our supporting objectives are to: show how local foods support the retailing function in theory; test the relationship between local-food assortments, store traffic, equilibrium pricing, and welfare by analyzing field-experiment data from an internet-based local foods retailer (Relay Foods); study consumers' store-choice and shopping-basket purchase habits by varying local content in an experimental context; design a model of the supply network for local-food retailing based on the Relay Foods data; use agent-based modeling (ABM) methods to simulate welfare outcomes from an optimal retail supply network; and draw implications from our modeling exercise for retailers, distributors, growers, and policymakers. Our proposed research promises to make a number of substantial contributions to the state of knowledge on local food retailing, supply-chain design, and policy with regards to promoting local foods consumption.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2/2/162/1/19

Funding

  • USDA: National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): $482,831.00

Fingerprint

Farmers
Online retailing
Local food
Retailers
Food
Supply network
Purchase
Food retailing
Food supply
Food service
Field experiment
Restaurants
World Wide Web
Network design
Service operations
Retail
Retailing
Equilibrium pricing
Shopping
Distributor