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AT Kearney is out with a survey suggesting that "local food is fast becoming a necessity for attracting and retaining grocery customers. Comparing survey results to the 2013 survey, an increased number of shoppers indicate that local foods are an important factor in what they buy and where they buy it. A majority of grocery shoppers in the survey indicated that they think more highly of retailers that carry local food and will consider switching retailers to find better local food selections."

According to the survey:

• "More than 40 percent of respondents say they purchase local food on a weekly basis, and another 28 percent buy local food at least once a month. A majority of respondents say that local food helps the local economy (66 percent) and brings a broader and better assortment of food (60 percent). It is clear that retailers offering local food will positively influence customer perception."

• "Local food awareness and price perception have improved over the 2013 survey results. Sixty-eight percent of respondents say they are aware that their supermarket of choice offers local food. Similar to 2013, shoppers indicate their primary reason for not buying more local groceries is lack of availability at their retailer of choice. In the 2014 survey 47 percent of respondents say availability is the primary reason they do not buy local, down 10 percent from 2013, which underlines growing awareness of local selections."

• "Seventy percent of consumers say they will pay a premium for local food. One-third of survey respondents (compared to one-quarter in 2014) say that they will pay a 10 percent premium for local food."

The survey also says that "big-box and national retailers still lag in customer perception when it comes to providing high-quality, affordable fresh and local foods."
KC's View:
I've always said that I became a local food convert when, having had the best BLT of my life, found out that the bacon came from pigs raised just down the road. And I think that it seems entirely likely that "local" will end up having more staying power than "natural" (a largely meaningless term), and may even outlast "organic" as being important to consumers.