Authenticity is the key to real healthy products

Authenticity is the key to real healthy products

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 economy

·       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