Purchasing locally grown farm products can be a smart business
decision when your customers are seeking food sourced from local farms.
Increasingly, customers expect to see the farm products of their county, state,
and region represented on their plates and in their carts.
· The US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) reports that the local foods sector is a steadily growing
market nationally, worth $6.1 billion in 2012 (Low, et al 2015).
· If North Carolina
consumers spent 10% of their food dollars on local produce, the market could be
worth $3.5 billion annually or more for our state.
· Demand for local produce
has exceeded demand for organic (Onozaka, Nurse, and Thilmany McFadden, 2010).
Consumers have many diverse reasons for preferring local
produce, including the following (Williams 2013):
· Perceived health benefits
· Freshness and quality
· Perceived food safety
· Support for the local
· Social responsibility and
support for local farmers and communities
However, there is no agreed-upon definition of “local” (Hand and
Martinez 2010). Consider developing your business`s definition based on your
customers` expectations, which may vary. While some customers prefer to see
farm products from their own communities, other customers may include regional
products in their definition of local, and still others may look for state
branding .Clearly defining what local means for your business can help ensure
the authenticity of your marketing.
Customers may also think that local food is automatically
organic or sustainable. Local growers use a variety of techniques to raise
produce. It is important to communicate with your customers about how the local
produce you purchase is grown.
Nov, 15 2016