Why Are Microgreens So Expensive?

by Lettuce Be | Last Updated:

If you’re new to the world of microgreens, there should be one question that keeps coming to mind every time you take a look at these unripe greens. Why are microgreens so costly?

Several reasons contribute to the higher price of microgreens. They are extremely nutritious, which is what makes them the king of the greens world. Trendy chefs from upscale restaurants have also played a part in the high pricing of these tasty micro veggie snacks. A large part of their culinary appeal is their intense flavor. Microgreens are no exception to that rule because they come at a premium price.

Does that mean you should give up microgreens because they are expensive? No, of course not. Microgreens may be expensive, but they offer their own set of benefits. We will discuss the reasons for the extra price and let you decide if you should spend your money on these nutritious crunchy salad greens.

The Cost of Microgreens

Microgreens or baby greens have been proven to be expensive, but what is the average cost? The price of a pound of microgreens (across different varieties) would range between $25 and $40. A microgreens farm can earn a solid income from these green crops in a few weeks while using a much smaller vertical space than traditional farming and other specialty food crops. The microgreen is the best “shoestring startup” and the perfect crop for new urban farmers, according to some successful growers. Several reasons account for the high price tag of these under-developed greens.

Supply and Demand

Though they are not among the most popular greens on the market, the economics of microgreens play a big role in determining the final price of food production. Microgreens were introduced to the people with the assistance of several celebrity chefs 20 years ago. Though it seems like a long time compared to regular vegetables, microgreens are still in their infancy.

Micro greens are currently considered a niche product because consumers aren’t interested in them. While a certain section of vegetarians is passionate about it, that’s not enough to lower its prices.

As a result of this low demand, the number of microgreens farms tends to drop as well. This, in turn, leads to less manufacturing, which results in more expensive microgreens on the shelves.

Food Trends

We mentioned earlier that microgreens have been on the market for 20 years. But even if they did, they didn’t appeal to the retail customers instantly. For a long time, they were mostly used as a garnish in fancy restaurants and that was their only use case. Only recently did the mass market become more interested in these cotyledon plants. A mere fraction of the traction that common varieties of microgreens have right now is attributed to leafy vegetables and fruits. That means these edible greens do not account for much of the total vegetarian consumption.

A microgreen’s premium price is since a microgreen is still in its introduction stage of a product’s lifecycle. At the introduction stage, sales numbers are lower, the cost is higher, the first-time customers are fewer, and the number of wholesale suppliers or microgreen farmers is lower. At this time, microgreens are in this stage.

Next comes the growth stage, where sales increase which drives down the cost of the product. This stage also increases the overall adoption of the product by bringing more grocery customers to the product. So far, microgreens haven’t reached this stage.

During the maturity stage, you will see excellent sales numbers and the lowest cost per customer. More and more people use the product, while competitors are everywhere. Most of the leafy greens we use regularly are in this stage.

Given the fact that microgreens are not mainstream and still in the introduction stage, the number of microgreen growers is not going to increase any time soon, so the price point remains fairly high.

Nutrient Dense

Despite their tiny size, the true leaves have delicate textures and are full of flavor. They are also packed full of nutrients. In contrast to a mature crop, a microgreen usually contains 5 to 40 times more nutrients. You probably wouldn’t believe it, but that is pretty close to the truth when it comes to microgreens.

When it comes to nutrition, we know what levels of nutrients exist in each green crop. In terms of regular vegetables, you’ll notice that some sections of the vegetables will be more expensive. When it comes to traditional crops, common microgreens usually contain a higher quantity of fiber, vitamins, protein, and minerals, while the cheaper ones are rich in carbs and empty calories.

The abundance of nutrients in popular varieties of microgreens is one of the main reasons why they are so expensive. Nutrients in microgreens can range from 2 to 40 times that in a full-grown plant. If you eat a cup of radish microgreens, you will get 40 times more nutrients than a mature plant. Beta carotene levels in red cabbage microgreens are 260 times higher than those found in their mature counterparts.

These microgreens’ high level of nutrients makes them a target for premium pricing. Combine this with fewer commercial growers and fewer consumers and you have the perfect recipe for a super-expensive product.

Premium Markets

It has already been discussed that microgreens are not widely embraced by the market today. Because of that, you can’t find them in major supermarkets. Microgreens are mostly sold in specialized stores where the cost is usually higher than at major grocery stores.

The price of microgreens will come down as distribution increases, and when that happens, you can be sure that they will appear in regular supermarkets. The only time we will get affordable nutrient microgreens is when they reach the maturity stage of the product life cycle. Until then, they can be found at high-end stores at a premium price.

Other Reasons

Here are some other reasons for the high pricing of microgreens.

A Bit Is Enough

Microgreens do not need to be consumed in the same quantity as your regular vegetables. Getting ounces of a microgreen is more than enough if you buy pounds of full-sized greens. The per pound price of a microgreen is usually about $25 to $40. But you don’t have to buy on a per pound basis all the time. When you figure the price for a few ounces of microgreens per week, it will be more affordable.

If you have a hard time feeding your kids greens, then microgreens are a solid alternative. You can add popular blends to steaks, put them in a basic salad mix, and so much more. Getting more nutrients from a handful of microgreens is great if you’re a parent since they don’t have to consume a huge amount of it.

More Nutrients

You should acknowledge the fact that even though you pay a premium for microgreens, you are also getting nutrient levels that are much greater than traditional vegetables.

For people paying $4 per 50gms of Vitamin C, spending $10 for 200gms isn’t as bad an idea. For protein, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients, we can apply the same comparison for microgreens, and you will find they provide you with better value than those in other sources of nutrients.

Aspect of Luxury

Microgreens and vegetables are eaten differently. When organic microgreens first appeared by the introduction of some restaurant chefs, they gave it a more upscale appearance. This explains one of the reasons why the product has a high price. Some people prefer to consume microgreens in smoothies or even protein shakes, but they are mostly used as garnishes and toppings on foods. As people begin to use microgreens more as the main ingredient in tasty food rather than as just vegetable confetti, the price will drop.