Helen King, Director of Consumer Insight, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board
A new Bord Bia consumer insight study looks to how local food producers can influence and communicate in order to encourage new & continued purchases.
The study found that the fundamental elements to defining local are proximity and where something is made. Today 3 in 4 consumers understand it to be food made/produced/sourced within their local area. The key association with local food is that is continues to be all about people & place. As a result, local food is expected to have a brand story to tell and it is this story that is a key hook and influencer for consumers. Further associations with scale mean that local food is often thought of on a smaller scale with homemade associations i.e. not mass produced. In terms of product benefits, local food is understood to be better for you thanks to the perceived quality of the ingredients, freshness and health cues.
Two thirds of consumers report that it is important to purchase local food products and do so at least once a week. One in three say they are purchasing more today than they did 12 months ago.
They buy local because they believe they are supporting the community and that local food is fresher. Two in three consumers perceive local food to be of high quality with natural and 100% ingredients, which renders it better quality than ordinary food. Only haf of consumers associate local food with being expensive.
There are 6 key headlines from the study:
- The meaning of local continues to be about people, place & small scale
- Support of local fits with contemporary food culture
- Local Food has become more widely available
- Shoppers are beginning to loosen the purse strings
- The key local food categories remain unchanged
- There is a growing association with gifting & special occasions
Today local food is becoming part of our mainstream retail behaviour because of increased availability and accessibility. But, the fundamentals of local food still remain - its all about people, place and small scale.
The full study results will be available online in February.
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