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MarketLooks: Fresh and Local Foods in the U.S.

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Title: Fresh and Local Foods in the U.S.
Published: May 2007


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The following is the abstract from the full report:
Surveys repeatedly show that U.S. consumers believe fresh and locally grown products are tastier and healthier than their packaged/processed counterparts. High-quality perishables including fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are in fact among the top three reasons consumers choose a primary store for food purchases, and nearly half of shoppers changed supermarkets during 2006 in their quest for better produce. Accordingly, led by Safeway’s success with its “Lifestyle Format” stores, an increasing number of mainstream supermarkets are remodeling their stores to focus on freshness, while also expanding their perishables and prepared foods departments. Also reflecting the growing interest in fresh and local fare, farmers’ markets are booming across the nation, with their count swelling 40% between 2002 and 2006 as consumers increasingly seek out local foods in a desire to get the freshest products available and support their local economy.

Freshness also rates high with restaurant patrons, leading the list of menu marketing claims in 2006, with more than 40% of consumers saying that fresh produce offerings are “very much” a factor in which restaurant they chose. “Local” foods are also being viewed in an increasingly positive light, in a backlash to “industrial food” production’s negative environmental impact, including excess packaging/waste and the high level of fuel emissions stemming from the long distances many products travel to reach consumers (aka “food miles”). Food safety concerns are mounting as well, especially in light of the recent negative publicity surrounding the contamination of much of the national spinach crop with E. coli.

As a result of these trends, fresh and locally grown foods are fast becoming issues that promise to provide compelling new marketing angles—but also significant challenges—national food retailers, restaurants and other foodservice providers, and packaged foods marketers, all of which are already clearly intent on using these themes to position, romance, and market their products.

Report Methodology
The information in Fresh and Local Foods in the U.S. is based on both primary and secondary research. Primary research involved on-site examination of the retail milieu, interviews with marketing, public relations and industry analysts within the dairy market and consultants to the industry. Secondary research entailed data-gathering from relevant trade, business, and government sources, including company literature. Packaged Facts has derived mass merchandiser sales figures from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) InfoScan sales-tracking data. Figures provided on national consumer advertising expenditures are based primarily on data compiled by TNS Media Intelligence, the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing communications intelligence. The analysis of consumer demographics derives from Simmons Market Research Bureau survey data for fall 2006. New product information is gathered via literature research, personal interviews and data compiled by Productscan, a service of Datamonitor.


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