Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Farmers markets inspire mothers to eat more veggies, but grocery-store produce costs less

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
Summary:
When participants in a local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program received vouchers for fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets, they ate a greater variety of vegetables and more often chose fruits or vegetables as snacks. But a survey comparing prices at grocery stores and farmers markets showed that better produce prices could be found in local supermarkets, says a new study.

When participants in a local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program received vouchers for fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets, they ate a greater variety of vegetables and more often chose fruits or vegetables as snacks. But a survey comparing prices at grocery stores and farmers markets showed that better produce prices could be found in local supermarkets, says a new University of Illinois study.

"The biggest effect the vouchers had was related to the quality of participants' diets. Those who used the farmers market vouchers ate a greater variety of vegetables and were more likely to choose fruits or vegetables as snacks (57.3%) over those who did shop at the farmers markets (46.7%)," said Karen Chapman-Novakofski, a U of I professor of nutrition.

In the study, 377 participants were recruited from the WIC Clinic in Champaign, Illinois, and surveyed on their dietary intake and habits. Meanwhile, prices were collected every two weeks at area grocery stores and farmers markets.

The median intake for both vegetables and fruit among study participants was two servings a day, but almost 70 percent did not meet the national recommendation for amount of vegetables eaten daily, and about 25 percent did not eat the recommended amount of fruit.

USDA uses farmers market vouchers nationwide to allow WIC mothers to purchase more vegetables than they could otherwise afford. About half the participating mothers received vouchers for farmers markets; the other half did not. Fifty-seven percent of participants who used the vouchers had never shopped at a farmers market before.

"Growing and selling fruits and vegetables locally is a vital exposure and access point for clients who have challenges with accessing and consuming enough fruits and vegetables," said Brandon Meline, director of maternal and child health at the Champaign-Urbana (Ill.) Public Health District.

The WIC farmers market voucher program has been important in giving many residents the possibility of increasing their intake variety, Meline added.

"The average number of vouchers received was two at a total value of around $6.00.This may not be enough to have a significant impact on vegetable intake. For instance, according to the Economic Research Service, the average cost per pound of green beans is $3.23, and a pound provides about three cups of vegetables.

"So the most direct effect the vouchers could have had on vegetable intake was about six cups of vegetables for the participant and her children. Indirectly, however, the vouchers may have contributed to the mother's choice to serve vegetables, what types of vegetables will be served, and maintaining a positive attitude about eating them. The farmers market vouchers may serve as a gateway to exposure to more fruits and vegetables, and clients would use other sources of food dollars to maintain fruit and vegetable intake," Chapman-Novakofski noted.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend increased vegetable consumption to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.

"Not only are vegetables low in calories, they are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are important for keeping us healthy," she said.

So is the WIC farmers market voucher program a success? And should it be continued?

The jury's still out, said Chapman-Novakofski. "This study has shaped our thinking about the way we promote these markets to economically disadvantaged women. Farmers markets are a good place to find fresh, appealing produce, and they provide a venue for cooking demonstrations and nutrition education, but economically disadvantaged moms need to be able to purchase produce at the best prices," she noted.

"It's important to note that not all farmers markets are more expensive than supermarkets. In some areas and in different states, they are less expensive," she added.

Chapman-Novakofski said that researchers see differences in farmers market use among states that have longer growing seasons. "We'd also like to know how much of the food purchased at farmers markets is eaten. And we're interested in how consumers view the quality of farmers market produce and the kinds of fruits and vegetables they most often purchase."

At the very least, the study provides food for thought and may influence public policy in the future, she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ashley L. Wheeler, Karen Chapman-Novakofski. Farmers' Markets: Costs Compared With Supermarkets, Use Among WIC Clients, and Relationship to Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Related Psychosocial Variables. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2014; 46 (3): S65 DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.11.016

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). "Farmers markets inspire mothers to eat more veggies, but grocery-store produce costs less." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603135714.htm>.
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). (2014, June 3). Farmers markets inspire mothers to eat more veggies, but grocery-store produce costs less. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603135714.htm
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). "Farmers markets inspire mothers to eat more veggies, but grocery-store produce costs less." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603135714.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins