Although locally sourced and produced foods are a growing trend in food marketing, they are not yet clearly understood nor consistently defined. There is no lack of definitions currently offered, however, based on expanding, evolving, and sometimes conflicting, dimensions. The purpose of this paper is to investigate various emerging definitional elements of local foods to determine which elements may be as important to food shoppers today as the prevailing food miles definition.
A shopper survey is fielded and repeated measures ANOVA conducted to measure the relative importance of various definitional elements, assess where shoppers expect to acquire local foods, the price premium they are willing to pay, and differences that may exist across customer groups.
The study finds that consumers do consider other definitional elements as important as distance in their definition of local foods and they expect to find them in secondary outlets beyond farmers markets and the produce department. Consumers are willing to pay a price premium and there are differences across light, medium, and heavy users.
This study provides researchers with an expanded and clearer definition of local foods for future research and practitioners with guidance on what shoppers expect and value today and how to better source, merchandise, and promote local foods.
By combining definitional elements from across industry, government, and academia and analyzing them together, this study offers a more comprehensive definition of local foods and consumer expectations.
Lang, M., Stanton, J. and Qu, Y. (2014), "Consumers’ evolving definition and expectations for local foods", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 11, pp. 1808-1820. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-03-2014-0117
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