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Lifestyle segmentation and political ideology: Toward understanding beliefs and behavior about local food

Witzling, Laura, Shaw, Bret R.
Appetite 2019 v.132 pp. 106-113
demographic statistics, ecosystem services, food purchasing, households, lifestyle, politics, recipes, surveys, willingness to pay, Wisconsin
This research sought to better understand local food consumers and take steps to begin to identify how targeted messages could engage different groups. In order to accomplish these aims, data was collected through a survey mailed to a random sample of Wisconsin households with a final sample size of 577. These consumers were then segmented based on variables related to the food related lifestyle (FRL) and political ideology. Political ideology was included as it influences the media to which individuals pay attention, and how they interpret messages. Identified groups were further profiled with variables related to local food purchasing, frequency of shopping at farmers’ markets and natural food stores, willingness to pay a premium for local food, perceptions related to local food, communication habits, and demographics. Five segments were identified, with three standing out as likely consumers of local produce. The liberal, “Adventurous” consumers showed a strong interest in local food, perceiving local food to be superior for its environmental benefits, among other reasons. The “Traditional” and “Rational” groups were not interested in local food for environmental reasons, and may find such messages unappealing. In order to engage these other groups, messages should address the high quality of local food, how it can be incorporated into traditional recipes (for the “Traditional” group), and ways to make local food affordable and convenient to buy (for the “Rational” group).