From FCC Express
By Owen Roberts
Consumers like purchasing food differentiated by characteristics such as points of origin or production systems. But they want that food to come to them, not vice versa.
A University of Guelph research team says a survey of more than 2,000 Canadian consumers shows they prefer buying local and organic food at retail grocery chains.
“Availability through farmer direct sales such as community supported agriculture farms, farmers markets or independent grocery stores did not affect choice, while availability through grocery chains increased the probability of choosing the product,” says lead researcher John Cranfield, chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Demands bring challenges
However, meeting this consumer preference has particular challenges. Getting differentiated food to a grocer involves additional transportation and perhaps marketing costs.
Cranfield suggests suppliers of such foods should consider working together and aggregating them, to make delivery more cost-efficient to large institutional customers and retail chains.
In Ontario, the effort to offer local or specialty production in grocery stores can also be seen in the province’s modernized alcohol laws. Grocery stores are now being given the green light to offer VQA wines and craft beer, considered local products by consumers.
Regardless of whether the researchers asked consumers about locally produced or organically produced foods, the three least important factors were fairness, tradition and convenience, while consumers listed the three most important purchasing factors were price, taste and freshness.