That chicken—is it local?
Food itself might be a mouthful, but the labels on its packaging can be even harder to swallow. “Organic,” “non-GMO” and “local” foods seem to be popping up everywhere in the grocery store, at the farmer’s market, and among conversation. Today’s consumers are becoming more conscious about where their food comes from, actively seeking out local brands with an emphasis on organic and non-GMO food. What factors are driving this new niche market? Is it really all about the label?
Consumer awareness and willingness to pay for local, organic, and environmentally friendly products has increased significantly. According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, local foods will generate $20.2 billion in sales by 2019, an increase from $11.7 billion back in 2014. It is clear that the quest for “clean” food is a trend that is quickly turning into a movement. The high demand for foods with these labels means that the market competition is growing and will continue to develop. While the health and environmental benefits of choosing organic and local food is a major plus, there are additional factors at play that are important to consider.
One of the main reasons behind the attraction to local, organic and non-GMO foods has to do with how the label makes the consumer feel. These labels portray food in a way that sounds more trustworthy and real. The local and organic market is continuing to flourish because there is an increasing desire for more transparency and honesty in the food that people eat. Simply stated, people are drawn to authentic brands that produce authentic food. In effect, fast food companies and multinational corporations are no longer dominating the food landscape. Local and organic food brands are gaining popularity and dramatically changing the way that Americans think about food.
Local and organic food labels also create a clearer story behind the product, fostering a stronger connection to food for consumers via a background they can latch onto. People want to ingest more than just the food on their plate. Local foods that are grown ethically and responsibly also make the consumer feel more engaged with the food that they are eating. “Local,” “non-GMO” and “organic” labels paint a clearer picture about where the food is grown, how it’s grown, and who grows it. This means a better chance at getting the consumer to return and purchase the product again.
People’s appetite for local and organic food is only growing, meaning that food brands must reevaluate the way that they market themselves. To fit in with this new niche market, it is important to acknowledge and adapt to consumers’ new expectations and desires. People want food that is high quality, transparent, and ethically produced. They are also looking to align their own principles and values through the food that they eat. While the local and organic food market is still relatively small, bigger brands are quickly following suit. This sparks the question: how will the local and organic food market stay true to itself in the face of larger-scale operations? Could it’s “real” and “authentic” image be sabotaged?