Study: Sampling at farmers markets can boost sales

01/07/2013 11:10:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

farmers market samplingVicky BoydIf done right, handing out samples at farmers markets can influence that days' consumer purchases as well as future purchases.Handing out samples is a good way to boost farmers' market sales, according to a survey conducted by the University of Kentucky.

In fact, 55 percent of respondents to the survey bought what they sampled even though they hadn't originally planned to do so.

Previous surveys had shown that vendors often considered sampling a hassle or labor intensive, according to a news release.

Others noted that they were unsure about the benefits of sampling.

Researchers in the university's College of Agriculture conducted the web-based 2011 Regional Farm Market Sampling Survey that comprised 3,406 responses from market patrons across eight states.

Among the criteria that influenced sales were vendor friendliness, sample presentation, market atmosphere, sampling with friends or family, and interaction with the vendor.

The effects of sampling also influenced future purchases and referrals, according to the release.

For more information on conducting a sampling program, download "Best Practices for Sampling at Farmers Markets: A Practical Guide for Farmers Market Vendors" from the University of Kentucky.

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A. Manoff    
pennsylvania  |  January, 10, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Sampling is an excellent way to sell delicious produce. Unfortunately, in PA the requirements include having a handwashing station at your table. Farmers are not allowed to merely use gloves and plastic utensils or have sanitizers at the table.

Montana  |  January, 10, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Ask first. I got in trouble for giving out peach samples. County said they had to be sliced in a commercial kitchen.

Florida  |  January, 10, 2013 at 06:31 PM

This works very well with pecans. I usually have two varieties, and I invite people to sample each. (I tip each pecan into their hand with a plastic spoon.) This gives me an opening to talk about different varieties and the health benefits of pecans.

manitoba  |  January, 12, 2013 at 10:49 PM

That sampling encourages sales is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Farmers' Markets here all have to be licensed by Health Inspectors and the rules are very convoluted and prohibitive of sampling. An entire page of the Rules and Regulations is dedicated to the subject. So sad.

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