Survey finds consumers put a distance on “local”

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“Local” is one of the many buzzwords consumers face when grocery shopping. While consumer translations of these words vary, a study pinned down the most common definition.

Two University of Kentucky agricultural economists found consumers have a preferred distance limit on the distance a product can travel to be considered “local.” The survey included 1,013 Canadian beef consumers between the ages of 19 and 74.

US Map Findings from the report show consumers were less strict than the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in defining local beef. While the CFIA requires local beef to originate from a farm less than 30 miles away, Canadian consumers were just as likely to select beef labeled “local,” meeting CFIA requirements, as they were selecting beef with a “100 miles” label.

The CFIA local beef was preferred over the beef with a “200 miles” label.

In addition to the “local” label preferences, consumers were more likely to select a product produced in the local province compared to a product with a “local” label.

According to the study, the preference for a product made in the province “perhaps is due to the more coordinated efforts by provincial government in food marketing. Or alternatively, this could be that consumers value local and home-province product with different motivation, or that Canadians identify strongly with province.”

Regardless of the distance, local labels were preferred to products with labels identifying the beef as a product made in Canada or the USA. The survey showed 69 percent of the Canadian consumers would select local over one labeled as a product of Canada and 84 percent would select a local product over one marked "Made in the USA."

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Not local  |  September, 26, 2013 at 09:10 AM

Lets try this! As an experiment; everyone in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles should only eat food produced within 30 miles from the city borders for one week. After the cities burn down from the riots we can put an end to all of this local nonsense .

TX  |  September, 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM

This survey seems to undercut Canada's argument against us having COOL.

KS  |  September, 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

I think it would be funny if all the states required labeling of which state it came from. This would knock the people in favor of COOL on their collective haunches. And what argument could they provide? "This is discrimination" shouted at the tops of their lungs? Especially since cattle from the states with no packing plants would have to have their cattle discounted because the packers would have to provide extra labeling stating which state the beef was from.

SD  |  September, 26, 2013 at 01:06 PM

Don't forget, the 'hustlers' of COOL insisted the law does NOT include the information which research shows most consumers want, IF they want a location label at all: RANCH of origin!

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