Market Research

Markets are dynamic. With customers, competitors, and market conditions continually changing, market research can provide you with a clear sense of your business opportunity, target market and competition.  In addition, investors and lenders may require independent market assessments or studies as part of the analysis to verify your business concept and plans.

This website also can serve as an invaluable source of information for your market research:

  • In Healthy Food Access 101 and in Business Models you will find information that you can use to inform your market research business strategy on supermarkets and convenience stores, food cooperatives and community-supported agriculture, farmers markets and mobile markets, and food hubs that.
  • Research Your Community is a tool designed to help understand healthy food retail access in specific geographic locations. This interactive mapping and reporting tool provides 60 data indicators that can help the user understand a community’s food environment. The broad categories of data included are described below:
    • Demographics: Includes data on race and ethnicity, income, poverty, recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps), and rates of unemployment.
    • Food Environment: Includes data on grocery retail demand and leakage, farmers markets, and the degree of access to healthy food retail outlets such as USDA’s Low Income, Low Access designated census tracts and Reinvestment Fund’s Limited Supermarket Access areas.
    • Health: Includes data on fruit and vegetable consumption, obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes.
    • Federal Programs and Investments: Includes eligibility data for various federal funding programs such as New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

You can also use market research to counter misconceptions about the financial viability of serving low-income households and communities of color.  For example, data on grocery retail demand and leakage or utilization rates for the SNAP and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs can demonstrate the purchasing power of low-income households and persons of color.

Knowing your customer will also contribute to your chances for establishing a successful business. Both quantitative data on community demographics (income, race, and ethnicity) and qualitative on-the-ground research can be vital to understanding your customer base. Surveys, focus groups and conversations with potential funders, food policy councils, and food access organizations can help you explore the need or demand for your product or service and make sure that your business offerings are culturally appropriate and desired.