Discriminant Analysis of Consumer Interest in Buying Locally Produced Foods
In the wake of Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK, upstream operators in the agrifood sector are being encouraged to undertake more direct marketing of their products. However, little is known about consumer interest in buying local food, and the factors that might influence a positive response. Drawing from the literature on ethical and environmentally responsible consumer behaviour, interest in local food is conceptualised as being related to attitudinal, situational and demographic factors. Discriminant analysis of responses to a survey of shoppers in the north of England finds that attitudinal factors tend to explain variations in local food interest better than demographic factors. In addition, situational factors of urban/rural residency and degree of involvement with farming are also strong discriminators. However, as importance ratings of food choice attributes such as low price and intrinsic quality did not differ significantly according to interest levels in local food, the results imply that even highly interested consumers have pragmatic expectations about local food products that need to be met for marketing strategies to be successful.
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