Setting up a Food Market
Setting up a Farmers Market
Markets provide a vibrant hub in the community and act as an attraction for towns, supporting local food producers, and encouraging social interaction as well as adding to the local economy Here is some basic information about how to get started with setting up a food market. We’ve put together a little information to help point you in the right direction when you’re starting out, but please note that this advice Is not by any means exhaustive and is just a starting point.
Step 1 - Research
If you are interested in setting up a food market in your area, as the first port of call you should do research on any other nearby markets and also with local food producers to see if there may be an appetite to participate.
Engaging with local food networks that may already be in place is a great first step. Enquiring with the local council is also beneficial as it is possible that public areas may be available as trading spaces.
Step 2 - Support
To ensure ongoing support from the community a market must have a wide variety of categories of food available – e.g. butchery, bakery, vegetables, dairy, fish so that ideally, a customer could largely able to do the bulk of their weekly food shop at the market.
Whilst it is also of course valuable to have a variety of prepared foods and speciality foods categories represented– the basics of a shopping basket will keep customers returning on a weekly basis.
Step 3 - Location
Location is key – there are two schools of thought; being “if you build it, they will come” and “find a high footfall area”. In any event, aspects such as access for both the customers, but also the stallholders and their equipment must be key to a decision.
It is advisable to engage with other local food businesses operating in the area – such as delis and grocery stores as buy-in from these businesses will be valuable when it comes to promoting the market within the community.
Step 4 - Marketing Advice
A Simple holding page website is a great idea so that everyone can find you easily. It is possible to run such a website for a very small annual fee. Your LEO is a great source of information for getting online and also provides supports in some cases for the same.
Keeping times, locations and any other info as up to date as possible across all channels such as social media and a website will save you a lot of time in the long run (answering queries etc) To make sure you reach as many people as possible – ensure that you link all your channels to each other.
You should ensure to engage with all local and national bodies to ensure that your listings are up to date.
Find a suitable location with good access and parking
Engage with local businesses and networks
Ensure that there are producers committed to participating
A selection of key food categories must be represented
Research consumer interest
Ensure there are funds for promoting the market
Additional Resources & Related Content
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is the inspectorate body for food business operators and for stall holders selling at markets. There are a host of resources on their website and a great starting point is their specific page with resources specific to home businesses and food stalls
MAST Market Trader Handbook
MAST have created a helpful handbook that is essential reading when you are starting out
Markets Alive Support Team (MAST)
MAST (Markets Alive Support Team) is an organisation which provides support and information to Markets and Market traders. MAST also organises insurance for members.
Advice on Setting Up a Stall
Markets are an incredible resource for food producers to link in with consumers. As a seller of food, you can directly connect with your customers, gain valuable feedback, and directly educate customers.