Consumers are willing to pay more for locally grown food, according to a new survey.
About 70% of those polled said they would pay a premium for local, according to a survey conducted by Chicago-based management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
The study also found that local is much more important than organic for most consumers, and that consumers trust national and big box chains less when it comes to local.
“Clearly, local food cannot be ignored as a growing segment for the grocery industry, and we’ve learned that larger-format food retailers still have much work to do to earn the trust of consumers in providing quality local food products,” James Rushing, a Kearney partner and the study’s leader. said in a summary of the results. “But the additional work and costs are worth the effort in the customer loyalty gained.”
The survey, “Buying into the Local Food Movement,” was conducted in November 2012. It included an online survey of 1,300 U.S. respondents, with an even split of men and women.
All respondents were over the age of 18, with household size, income and geography characteristics representative of the U.S. population as a whole. Sixty-nine percent of respondents were the primary grocery shopper in their household.
According to the study, 66% of consumers buy local because they believe it helps the local economy, 60% because it offers a better assortment of products and 45% because it’s more healthful.
Almost 30% those polled said they would consider buying food elsewhere if their grocery store didn’t carry local foods.
When it comes to which channels buyers of local trust most, farmers markets and farm stores rank first, followed by natural food markets, local food markets, national supermarkets, big box retailers and online retailers.
Local ranks higher than organic on contributions to sustainability efforts. About 68% of those polled said local food contributes positively, but only 50% said organic did.