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The price of food

December 22, 2009

Since everybody needs to eat every day, and we’re operating a food store, we at FreshLocal are deeply concerned about the price of food – both the price we pay and the price at which we sell.  There are competing concerns here, and we need to consider them all.

  • basic foods should be available and affordable to all
  • our producer members should receive the best price the market will support to encourage them to keep farming and farm more
  • prices on our products must generate enough revenue to pay expenses and support the staff who work there

FreshLocal is a small store, and has to pay higher prices on most items than supermarkets because of that.  Customers have asked us to carry Organic Valley milk, for example.  We can get it, but we would have to pay more for it wholesale than the retail price at Fred Meyer.  This means that our prices on comparable goods have to be a bit higher.  To counter that, we try to supply quality products you won’t find in supermarkets.

Complicating the picture is the undeniable fact that food prices globally and locally are rising sharply, and predicted to continue to rise.  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=anmWH3QNomt0&pos=13

In other words, the situation is likely to get worse.

We’re trying to achieve a balance in pricing which will meet our goals of fairness to all, and we will appreciate customer assistance in doing so.  We hope that we will be on the same side with us in this effort, that customers will understand that we’re trying to maintain the lowest prices that will pay the bills, be fair to staff, and allow us to expand our offerings of locally produced foods and continue in business for a long time.

We can relieve the effects of  the rising price trend by making whole, relatively unprocessed foods the foundation of our diets, and at FreshLocal we’re trying to facilitate that by stocking a wide variety of bulk commodities (much less costly than the same items in boxes).  You can do your part by doing more of your own cooking, and relying much less on ready-to-eat dishes.  We’ll be trying to help with that by offering recipes, and maybe cooking seminars.

Please let us know what you think about this important issue, whether it’s specifics on particular prices, suggestions about which products you would like us to add or delete, or anything else you can think of which will help us find the right path in stocking and pricing.

Over the past few months, we’ve received abundant support from you, telling us that you want this kind of store in our community, and we’re grateful for that.  Now we’re asking for more.  Please shop at FreshLocal as often as you can, and give us the information we need to help us make the store everything you want it to be.

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