Communities across the United States are fully embracing “Buy Local” as a way to contribute to their own local economic development. This “Buy Local” movement within the food industry is specifically related to the consumer’s desire for a stronger connection to the farmers who grow their food. The popularity and demand for local foods and products is continuing to grow and is creating a dynamic shift in food production, distribution and access nationally. The movement that began as a small “local” trend has evolved into a permanent national standard.
Local food appeals to various consumer groups for several reasons, including an interest in sustainability and the reduction of “food miles,” a desire for organic and natural foods and ethical issues. Many consumers feel compelled to make local purchases they believe have a greater social impact. In fact, the availability of locally grown produce and other local packaged foods are major influences on grocery shopping decisions.
A National Grocery Association 2014 Consumer Panel on “Local” concluded the following:
In 2014, 87.2% of consumers regard “Local” as “very/somewhat important”, up from 79% in 2009. Only 3.3% said “not at all important”.
Hispanics, 50-64 year olds and members of single person households were the most dominant segments in the “very important” category.
“More locally grown foods” is the second most desired improvement among surveyed grocery shoppers at 32.1%, just under “Price/cost savings”
The product differentiating tag “local” is the most influential product claim today with seven in 10 specialty food retailers reporting this is the most important product attribute to consumers. Do you read the labels? Are you buying local?
ShareKitchen, in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute and the USDA, is working with local farmers, food producers, restaurants and retailers to ensure our community has access to our “Local” food and farm treasures.
Want to know more? Read our progress here in the Coachella Valley Weekly and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShareKitchen to stay connected and join the conversation!