Blog: The Price Battle. By Monica Parmar
After a hectic few days at The Real Food Festival, it’s a little boring to return to the solace of my office and sit in front of a laptop!
Whilst the festival proved to be a brilliant opportunity to meet with foodies, there was one particular producer’s comments that stuck in my head.
Having seen our ‘Meal for Four Deal’ costing £15, he stated that his product was priced much higher as it was a premium product, insinuating that producers should adopt this strategy to appeal to a certain group of the population who can afford it.
This got me thinking: should all small producers simply price their products higher to persuade consumers that their products are better than anyone else’s? This strategy can work for big brands, especially those in fashion or technology, even though cheaper and good quality alternatives are often available.
But is this the case with small producers?
All the producers I work alongside often work 60+ hour weeks, juggling rearing animals, cooking, selling and sometimes other jobs too. The result is food made with passion, hard work and love.
Then it hit me! Both producers and consumers alike are struggling during this rocky economic time but the single thing that brings them together is their genuine love of food. Each group has the same objectives: enjoy life, eat well and make enough money to afford both the previous. These elements are delicately balanced until one outweighs the other.
Quite often, people are under the impression that farmers’ markets are expensive. The lure of cheaper priced food can sometimes be too much, especially when times are tough. Therefore, as small producers it is our responsibility to provide quality produce at an affordable price.
Fellow producer Julie at Church Farmhouse Cakes told me costs involved in baking their cakes are high, often with little profit but the fact her customers come back time and time again makes it worthwhile. Again, for her it is a genuine labour of love.
Returning to our ‘premium producer,’ on probing him further I discovered it was very much a profit-only venture and most of his production was outsourced.
As a business woman, it is an obvious objective to make money. However, what I and thousands of other small producers are committed to attaining is fabulous food at affordable prices. We believe good food should be available and affordable to everyone, not just the elite few.
So, a plea to all the customers on behalf of all brilliant small producers, please please don’t mix us up with the other lot.