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Pulse Report- Consumer Understanding of Buying Local
Hartman Group, The, February 2008, Pages: 37
What does the term “buy local” mean to today's consumers?
“Local” has become a quality distinction marker for food consumption as well as environmental causes. While “buy local” is a phrase that continues to grow in popularity, the specifics of what such a term means to consumers is hazy. Many mainstream consumers are just beginning to think about the idea in terms of everyday products and practices.
Consumer Understanding of Buying Local is designed to provide a current view on where “buy local” is at with consumers and how this acquired knowledge translates into marketing opportunities.
Like organic products in the late 1990's, the fervor for all things “local,” ranging from farm stand goods to civic involvement, seems to be everywhere today. On the surface, the rising interest among consumers in local products might be misconstrued as a growing fascination with fresh produce culled from the explosive growth of farmers markets in the U.S. To be sure, fresh agricultural goods and romanticized notions of family farms are a key part of what make up local products in the minds of consumers, yet consumers are also avidly interested in supporting local businesses and producers that they believe reflect their community's values.
The issues surrounding consumer involvement with the concept of “buying local” will only continue to grow in complexity. This report is your guide to understanding consumer perceptions of what “buy local” means to consumers in the context of products, brands, retailers, restaurants and businesses.
The report examines:
- Current consumer definitions for “local”
- Reasons why consumers buy products they perceive as local
- Where consumers buy local products
- Percentage of local products purchased believed to be organic
- Assumptions consumers make about locally grown products (fresh)
- Perceptions of local vs. organic
- Perceptions of locally produced products vs. imported products
- Marketing influences
- Awareness for local brands
- Consumer desire for greater variety and access to local products
Consumers are influenced by a range of factors to purchase local products. These influences range from notions of freshness to curiosity about product narratives to beliefs that buying local benefits local economies and environments. This report examines a variety of potential methods that marketers, retailers and restaurateurs can utilize to better align themselves with communities in which they sell or operate.
Chapter I. Consumer Understanding of Local
What Buying Local Means to Consumers
Language Map: Consumer Definitions of Local Products
Definitions of “Buy Local”
Chapter II. Purchase of Local Products
Local Products Channels of Purchase
Influences on Local Shopping, Buying and Dining Out
Local vs. Organic
Local vs. Imported Products
Chapter III. Marketing Local
Local Marketing Influences
Desire for Greater Variety and Availability of Local Products
Awareness for Local Brands
Chapter IV. Conclusions
Appendix I. The World Model
The World of Wellness
Appendix II. Methodology
List of Figures
Figure 1 Percentage of Consumers Who Buy “Locally Produced” Products
Figure 2 Among Consumers Who Buy Local Products, Segment Percentages Within the World of Wellness
Figure 3 Percentage of Consumers Who Purchase Locally Produced Products (by Wellness Segments)
Figure 4 Consumer Definitions of the Term "Local Product"
Figure 5 Consumer Definitions of the Term "Local Product" (By Wellness Consumers)
Figure 6 Associations with Term “Local Product” Language Map
Figure 7 Agreement with Definitions of the Term “Buy Local”
Figure 8 Channels Most Frequently Shopped to Purchase Locally Produced Products
Figure 9 Major Influences on Shopping, Buying and Dining Out Locally
Figure 10 Percentage of Local Products Purchased Believed to be Organic
Figure 11 Assumptions about Locally Grown Fresh Foods
Figure 12 Assumptions Made When Buying Local Foods: Always Check to Verify as Organic (By Wellness Consumers)
Figure 13 When Buying Local Foods: Assume that They are "Close to Organically Grown" (By Wellness Consumers)
Figure 14 Perceptions of Differences Between Local and Imported Products
Figure 15 Consumers Prefer Products That Travel Short Distances (By Wellness Consumers)
Figure 16 Locally Produced Products vs. Imported Products: Preferences for Support of Town, City or Community (By Wellness Consumers)
Figure 17 Importance of Different Elements of Marketing “Buy Local”
Figure 18 Importance of the Story Behind a Local Product (By Wellness Consumers)
Figure 19 Marketing Influences on Shopping, Buying and Dining Out Locally
Figure 20 Categories Consumers Would Like to See More Variety For Local Products
Figure 21 Categories Consumers Would Like to See More Variety For Local Products (By Wellness Consumers)
The quantitative findings in this report are based on the results of a survey fielded through our Interactive, in December 2007, with a sample size of 796.
Qualitative findings are based on contextual language analysis, which examines themes in hundreds of statements made by shoppers as well as online discussions about the topic of what buying local means to consumers.
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