Most of us know that buying locally sourced products is a priority for consumers, and that’s especially true when buying produce and perishables. But why is buying local so important? Well, that story is a bit more complicated. Here are some of the reasons your customers care about buying local:
Supporting Their Local Economies
Support for local economies is the number one reason U.S. consumers buy locally sourced products. 80% of consumers say that they buy local to support their local economies and local farmers, according to FMI’s The Power of Produce report in 2017. Supporting local brands strengthens their communities while keeping money in their local economy, creating prosperity for their friends, neighbors, and their own families.
As we recover from the effects of COVID-19, people may further prioritize supporting their local economies by buying locally sourced produce as a means of encouraging economic growth after the damage wrought by the pandemic.
Biting into Better Freshness
When it comes to perishables, buying local for better freshness is a no-brainer. The closer your meat and produce to its destination, the faster it arrives, and the faster you can eat it. Locally sourced perishables may also offer longer shelf-life after purchasing, or may contain fewer added preservatives.
This is the second most frequent reason U.S. consumers report buying locally sourced products. According to the Power of Produce report, 73% of consumers name better freshness as a reason they buy local.
Making More Environmentally Sustainable Choices Every Day
Consumers who care about environmental sustainability buy local because local products often have lower carbon footprints than other products. Buying locally sourced products means avoiding the high carbon emissions produced by transporting products over long distances. Among younger generations, sustainability and environmental consciousness is a major factor in their everyday consumption choices, so the share of consumers who prioritize buying local to maximize sustainability may continue to rise.
Getting Their Hands on Unique Local Products
This one is simple. We all have favorite local items we look for at the grocery store, whether it’s the bread from a neighborhood bakery or the milk from a local dairy farm. The unique regional fare and flavor of a place are part of life there, so the availability of these locally sourced options is crucial for retailers seeking to weave themselves into the fabric of the community.
Feeling Connected to Their Food
Many consumers prefer to buy locally sourced products because they like to know where their food comes from. Others say they buy local because they know the story of a particular farm or product. Both of these rationales point to a yearning to feel connected to their food, to understand the journey it took to arrive on their plate, and to know where and when it was harvested. Buying locally sourced products is part of many consumers’ strategies to make well-informed decisions about the quality and ethical production of their food in a world where they may be further removed from their food’s production than ever before.
Sourcing locally grown products is crucial to the success of your retail business because buying local matters to your customers. Whether they care about the economy, sustainability, or just fresher food, the availability of locally sourced products lets your customers make strategic buying decisions while rooting your business in the community.