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Freshness Beats Traceability in Local Food Buying Habits

14 November 2014

UK - Adopting a strategy to emphasise the local provenance of a product does not always enhance appeal among sceptical consumers.

According to Tanvi Savara, Food & Drink Analyst at Datamonitor Consumer, “interest in local claims does not always translate into behaviour, especially in Western markets".

While half of British consumers consider it important to choose food and drink products that are produced locally, a majority only buy such products occasionally or rarely, representing a value-action gap.

Consumers don’t associate local foods with greater transparency

In light of the horsemeat scandal, various frozen food and ready meal brands highlighted their British provenance through on-pack labelling and sourcing local ingredients to address concerns around imported meat.

However, Savara notes that contrary to popular perception, a majority of consumers do not associate ‘local’ or ‘locally produced’ products with greater traceability.

“Our findings show that only nine per cent of global consumers cite “improved traceability” as a major benefit of local products while lesser than a fifth (13 per cent) consider local offerings to be safer.” If local foods do not encourage consumer trust, what benefits do they have?

Provenance plays a greater role in conveying freshness of food products

A big factor contributing to the rising popularity of farmers markets in Western economies is that consumers are looking for food that’s produced closer to home as it tends to be fresher and healthier.

Datamonitor Consumer’s research shows that the most commonly cites benefit associated with locally produced grocery products is freshness. Nearly four in 10 consumers (38 per cent) consider local products to be fresher, confirms Savara.

“Freshness is one of the key attributes that is particularly important to reference in marketing communication, as it is a feature most credibly associated with products that reference their local roots.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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