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Local food trend: 4 ways to engage consumers and boost sales

  • 3 min read

The “support local” movement is not a passing trend or a fancy marketing ploy.

It seems we’ve been actively talking about local food for a decade now. And as consumers and entrepreneurs, we’re encouraged to choose homegrown products and ingredients for many reasons: supporting the economy, creating jobs and improving traceability are just a few. Yet, while consumers accept many of these reasons, they don’t necessarily make them a priority when making their food choices, so you must wonder whether this trend is worth the fuss?

The answer is an unreserved yes!  The “support local” movement is not a passing trend or a fancy marketing ploy. It’s a societal choice that goes far beyond economics, and the pandemic we’ve endured for the past year speaks volumes to this.

But what does “eating local” mean in 2021?

Local - a small word packed with meaning

The first definitions of local food referred to where the food was grown and processed. Although simple to explain, this notion caused a great deal of confusion, given our province and country’s size. 

We now realize that the local label encompasses much more than geography. It can evoke freshness, unique flavour, quality or special know-how. It can even generate a feeling of safety and pride.

All these facets of the local food trend offer up many avenues for your brand and your business. To maximize your chances of both engaging your consumers and generating sales, here are four approaches I have successfully tried in recent years.

  1. Define what local means for your organization

    Just as every consumer has an idea of what local means, every business should have its own vision and communicate it clearly. Be as specific as possible and emphasize whatever makes your products special (ingredients, recipe, know-how, environment, history, community, etc.).

  2. Embrace the trend

    Choosing local means concrete commitment, transparency and authenticity. Businesses that are most successful at leveraging the trend are the ones that implement this commitment at the corporate level. In doing so, they create substantial value for their brand and help build strong ties with their suppliers.

  3. Clarify the added value for your consumers

    Eating local, like protecting the environment and making ethical choices, factors into a decision in a way that’s far more intangible than price. So, for consumers to consider this feature of your products, they need to understand the added value. Whether it means exceptional freshness, a low carbon footprint or support for a local business, the more selling points you have, the more your brand will benefit.

  4. Highlight the human factor

    Because buying local helps create pride and trust, it also has the power to influence a sense of belonging and attachment to your brand and your organization. These are major assets that will resonate with your customers as well as your employees and suppliers.

In short, the “eat local” trend tugs at both the heart and the mind and thus has the potential to strike a chord with consumers while also offering a very attractive value-to-price ratio. Take the time to analyze your products and methods. You may have more local to offer than you think. And if not, you may identify some new opportunities to explore.

Article by: Isabelle Marquis, P.Dt., Food communication and marketing expert