The USDA has released a report titled “Facts on Direct-to-Consumer Food Marketing.” The report was compiled using data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture.

What is direct-to-consumer food marketing? It’s when consumers buy their food directly from the source of the food – the farmers or the beekeepers or, I imagine, even the wineries.


When you go to the farmers market or your CSA box is delivered or you go out in a local farm’s fields and pick your own blueberries, you, the consumer, are getting your food directly from the source.


What did the report find? It found that sales of direct-to-consumer food market have had impressive growth in the past ten years.


Here are a few of the key findings in the report:


The value of direct-to-consumer food marketing in all regions increased during the last decade.
The report divides the US into seven separate agricultural regions, and in each of those regions the percentage of people buying their food directly from the source has increased.
Over the past decade, the growth of direct-to-consumer food marketing across all regions far exceeded the growth of total agricultural sales. From 1997-2007 direct-to-consumer food marketing grew by 104.7 percent in the United States, while total agricultural sales increased by only 47.6 percent.
That’s an impressive jump – 104.7 percent in direct-to-consumer food marketing. And remember, these statistics are based on data that is now almost two years old. With the increase in farmers markets and CSA’s over the past couple of years, I would imagine that number is even higher by now.
The top ten states for direct-to-consumer food marketing are:
  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont
  • New Jersey
  • Maine
  • Alaska
  • New York
  • Hawaii

While the fact that direct-to-consumer food marketing is growing at a very healthy rate is good news, The Ethicurean points out that it still “has only an 0.8% share” of our agricultural sales. Less than 1% of the food in the country is bought directly from its producers. 

Image: Photo2217

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Direct-to-consumer food market sales gaining ground
How much as the sales of food directly from the producer to the consumer risen in the past decade? Quite a lot.