Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Locavore Numbers Remain Low

Most Americans still not buying local: survey
By Ann Bagel Storck on 3/18/2009

Although the "buy local" movement has received plenty of media attention, most U.S. consumers are not actually buying local products, according to a survey from research firm Mintel.

The survey found that just 17 percent of adults buy local products and services as often as possible. These "True Locals," as Mintel dubs them, are willing to pay a higher price, and they'll even buy local if competitive products are better.

But the overwhelming majority of American shoppers don't feel so strongly. Mintel identified 30 percent of survey respondents as "Aspirational Locals" who say they would purchase local goods and services but don't know where to find them. Twenty-seven percent of adults are "No Locals," not caring where their food and services come from.

Mintel's survey found that people who purchase local goods most frequently purchase food. Although local fruits and vegetables are most popular, approximately one in four shoppers buy local baked goods, meats or cheese/dairy products once a week or more. Link

Supporting local farmers and ranchers is a great thing, but to listen to the media lately you would think everyone is buying local. This survey would seem to suggest that very little traction has been gained by the local food movement. I think part of the problem will always be that there aren’t a lot of areas that can grow everything that people like to eat. In order for everyone to eat local all the time, consumers will have to be willing to sacrifice variety and pay a much higher price for their food in most areas.

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