Photo: Mike Licht
Datamonitor Consumer’s latest research shows that adopting a strategy to emphasise the local provenance of a product doesn’t always enhance appeal among skeptical consumers.
According to food & drink analyst Tanvi Savara, “Interest in local claims doesn’t always translate into behaviour, especially in Western markets. For example, 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.”
In light of the horse meat 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 9% of global consumers cite ‘improved traceability’ as a major benefit of local products, while less than a fifth (13%) consider local offerings to be safer,” she said. “If local foods don’t encourage consumer trust, what benefits do they have?”
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 cited benefit associated with locally produced grocery products is freshness. Nearly four in 10 consumers (38%) consider local products to be fresher, said Savara.
“Freshness is one of the key attributes that’s particularly important to reference in marketing communication, as it’s a feature most credibly associated with products that reference their local roots,” they said.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019