Is Local Better? Consumer Value in Food Purchasing and the Role of Short Food Supply Chains
This paper investigates the current research on how consumers select the foods they buy and how they define ‘quality’. Consumer decisions are complex and whilst a few consumers prioritise local above all other factors when selecting food, for most local is simply one of multiple factors which influence the food choices they make. Short Food Chains are not necessarily local but are based on supply chains with fewer steps in the chain from producer to consumer. Short Food Chains ensure that more of the value of the food is returned to producers and allows consumers to have a more direct connection to where and how their food was produced. Short Food Chains tend to exhibit features which consumers increasingly value, whether these be traceability and provenance, organic, familiarity, tradition or a connection to a specific place and culture. These strengths of Short Food Chains suggest that there is real potential to see major growth in this sector in the coming decade. As Kotler observed, you have to sell to the pocket, the heart and the soul and, in the food sector, embracing Short Food Chains can help producers to do this.