Has the shine come off the go local movement?
A new Harris Poll finds that Americans are split 50/50 on whether it is important to them to purchase locally made items when they go shopping at the grocery store.
According to the online survey of 2,225 adults in the U.S., other factors including sugar content (69 percent), fat (66 percent), sodium (64 percent) calories (64 percent) and antibiotic/hormone free (53 percent) were more important in purchasing decisions than local.
There are some grocery categories where buying local is more important in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Produce is the clear number one: 67 percent say locally grown is an important factor. Dairy (56 percent), bakery (55 percent) and meat (52 percent) are above the average for all of grocery.
Buying local is much less important when it comes to deli (43 percent), seafood (39 percent) and frozen foods (26 percent).
"While consumers appear to care more about purchasing locally grown fresh food compared to non-fresh food, this may be a result of the larger assortment of local options available in the fresh departments," said Sherry Frey, senior vice president with The Nielsen Perishables Group.
Life-stage plays a role in consumer attitudes about locally made goods. Adults with kids in the home are more likely in every category to say that buying local is more important than singles. Millennials are more likely than Boomers to factor where a product comes from when making purchasing decisions in meat, deli and frozen food.
There are a number of reasons why some find buying local important. Sixty-nine percent say it is good for the local economy, 68 percent say the products are fresher, and 63 percent say it supports local businesses. Thirty-nine percent like to buy local because it helps them understand where their food is coming from, while 37 percent think it just tastes better.
Do you think it will be more or less important for grocery stores to sell local goods in the years to come? Would grocers be better off simply focusing on local for fresh categories or do you think there are opportunities in others, as well?