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Revealing the lifestyles of local food consumers

Miranda Mirosa (Food Science Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Rob Lawson (Marketing Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 8 June 2012




Changing consumption patterns have led to a number of transformations throughout the food cycle, and understanding how and why people purchase local food is important. This paper aims to examine the characteristics of the people leading this phenomenon: those that prefer to buy locally produced food.


In order to explore the characteristics of local food purchasers, a single item question, “I try to buy a lot of locally produced food”, was included in the food section of a New Zealand consumer lifestyles survey for which 3,556 responses were collected. The full survey included 600 questions across the full attitude, interest and opinion schedule.


For people who express a strong intention to purchase local food, this behaviour is linked to the types of food they eat (e.g. unprocessed foods), where they buy it (e.g. at speciality stores), and how they cook it (e.g. follow recipes). A range of personality and other personal characteristics differ between local and non‐local food buyers, with the former segment being more liberal, interested in quality, and frugal.

Practical implications

Consumers who express an interest in purchasing local food are a demanding segment of the population whose interest in food makes them critical judges of produce. Local food must thus be fresh and value for money. Growing this sector requires making local food more accessible through mainstream retail outlets.


While something is known about why people buy local food, less is known about other aspects of local food consumers, the range of attitudes they hold towards food or their food‐related behaviours.



Mirosa, M. and Lawson, R. (2012), "Revealing the lifestyles of local food consumers", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 6, pp. 816-825.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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