CHICAGO A growing number of restaurant companies are using local products, but a report released Thursday by market research firm Mintel indicates that few Americans feel strongly about where their food or services come from.
According to Mintel’s consumer survey on local shopping, only one in six adults, or 17 percent, buy local products and services as often as possible. These “True Locals” are willing to pay more for locally produced goods and will choose them even if non-local competing products are better. The most zealous local shoppers, according to the report, were consumers ages 25 to 34 and families with children.
The report, however, found that most American shoppers, or 30 percent, fall into the “Aspirational Locals” category, saying they would buy local but don’t know where to find such products.
About 27 percent of those surveyed, however, said they don’t care where the things they buy come from.
“We found that, although the ‘buy local’ mantra has gotten strong media coverage and government support, most Americans haven’t yet incorporated it into their lifestyles,” said Krista Faron, a senior analyst at Mintel. “Nonetheless, local products offer unique benefits and are more accessible than ever before, so we think the local movement has relevance with today’s consumer.”
People who look for local products most frequently purchase locally produced food. Three in 10 adults, or 31 percent, said they buy local fruit or vegetables once a week or more; and 1-in-4 shoppers buy local baked goods, meats or cheese/dairy products once a week or more, according to the report.