September 10th 2006
Local resident Amanda Wheatland decided to compare the prices of fruit and vegetables in her local Sainsbury's store, with those of the Friday market in Dorking. With the current location of the market part of the site for a proposed new Sainsbury's superstore, and therefore uncertainty about the future of the market, Amanda was interested to know how much it would cost her every week if she was to stop using the market.
Amanda felt that the market was cheaper than her local supermarkets, but wanted to do a more comprehensive survey.
"I had noticed that the seasonal produce was often cheaper than the supermarket, especially the so-called luxury produce such as asparagus, cherries, apricots and artichokes," said Amanda.
Amanda's family comprises two adults and two young children, and she compared a typical week's basket of produce from the two locations. She generally spends between £18.00 and £35.00 a week on fruit and vegetables, two thirds of which come from Dorking market, the rest mainly from a local box scheme.
Here’s the result of her survey.
The conclusion was that the market was almost 30% cheaper than Sainsbury’s.
Furthermore, Amanda generally favoured the market produce to that of the supermarket for taste, saying "I prefer the market mostly I think they come out tops for quality".
Amanda commented that the week she had conducted her survey the stall holders had remarked that they felt their prices were higher than average because of the vagaries of the costs demanded by their growers, meaning an even higher potential saving.
When asked what she would do if the market ceased to exist Amanda said, "It would be very sad, I find it a much more enjoyable and sociable experience than the supermarket, on a sunny day you can't beat it. Also according to my price comparison on the weeks I spend £30.00 I'd need to add another tenner to it in the supermarket. That’s an extra £40.00 a month on my food bill."
In addition to fruit and vegetables, Amanda also uses the market for fish, local honey, bread, olives, greetings cards, fabric, clothes and canned items many of which are cheaper than equivalent items in the supermarket.
Amanda’s potential annual saving from using the market is at least £500 and could well be over £1000.