Local Food MarketSizer® Method

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Using U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census and private survey data, we compare farm cash receipts with consumer food expenditures and adjust for population, international exports, price spreads, regional productive capacity and consumer purchase intent. These adjustments result in an estimate of unmet demand for local food at the wholesale level, i.e. the dollar value of the wholesale market not currently served by existing local food suppliers.


  • Local Quotient is the percentage of category food sales produced within the area. It is calculated at the county level and is overstated if production is shipped to other counties or states. A result of greater than 100% indicates that local demand could be met entirely with local production if it were directed to these markets through a local food system.
  • Local Food Demand is the approximate value of category wholesale sales which could come from local sources if supply were available.
  • Local Food Supply is the approximate value of category wholesale sales produced within the area based on the county-level Local Quotient, some of which may be shipped outside the area.
  • Unmet Market for Local Food is the difference between the value of local food demand and area production (supply) in the chosen categories.

Segments within the food categories

  • Meat – Fresh and processed beef, pork and other including lamb, game, etc.
  • Poultry & Eggs – Fresh, frozen, powdered, etc.
  • Dairy – Fresh milk & cream and other including butter, cheese, ice cream, cultured, etc.
  • Fruits & Vegetables – Fresh and processed including canned, dried, frozen, etc.

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How to use our estimates

  • When using NVA data or insights, please cite all references “Source: New Venture Advisors LLC” and link to https://newventureadvisors.net. Thank you!
  • The Local Food MarketSizer® estimates the total size of the business opportunity in a region with limitations noted below. A new enterprise will not meet all of this demand, but a smaller segment called the Addressable Market. The size of the Addressable Market is determined by the length of the growing season, operating capabilities of the business and its target market selection, which may include a share of the market already met by local suppliers. These adjustments require knowledge of the business operation, the target market and seasonal extension capabilities.

Limitations to our method

  • Consumer data is available regionally and may not accurately reflect all local preferences.
  • Production data is county-level. USDA NASS may withhold information to avoid disclosing data for individual farms.
  • Export data is available for international trade. Local production shipped across county and state lines is not estimated and may cause the Local Food MarketSizer® to understate unmet market size.
  • The Local Food MarketSizer® adjusts for tropical and citrus crop capability and assumes all other crops and livestock can be raised locally. This may not accurately reflect local productive capacity and overstate unmet market size.