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Consumers’ evolving definition and expectations for local foods

Mark Lang (Department of Food Marketing, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
John Stanton (Department of Food Marketing, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Yingdao Qu (Department of Food Marketing, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited