Jan 11

Local Products Appeal to a Surprising Target

The local food movement continues to gain momentum. In fact, more than four in ten American adults care about buying local foods - with over one-fifth shopping at a farmer's market between April and July 2010. Local foods are perceived as fresher and inherently healthier, generally have a smaller carbon footprint, and most importantly, benefit the local economy. It's a win-win-win.

Not surprisingly, local foods appeal most to LOHAS consumers, the environmental, social, and health stewards. What is surprising is that the CONVENTIONALS segment is second to LOHAS consumers in their usage of local foods, out-ranking the health-conscious NATURALITES and trend-sensitive DRIFTERS. CONVENTIONALS are typically described as being practical and prudent consumers who are good recyclers and energy conservers. However, this finding shows that their behavior (and marketing appeal) is not relegated solely to conservation. The economic and practical benefits of local foods fit within the paradigm CONVENTIONALS seek, and they are shopping accordingly.

As retailers and manufacturers try to source more products locally, they should keep in mind the broader psychographic of CONVENTIONALS to make sure they are maximizing the consumer potential of this category. As the largest segment, targeting this consumer with optimal messaging may prove extremely worthwhile.

NMI expects that the drive for locally–made products will move beyond food to other consumables and potentially even durables. Can this trend create a "Made in the USA" movement as concerns over shipping jobs overseas, carbon footprints, and foreign sourced products accelerates? Stay tuned...

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