Main content area

Local, national and imported foods: A qualitative study

Chambers, S., Lobb, A., Butler, L., Harvey, K., Traill, W.B.
Appetite 2007 v.49 no.1 pp. 208-213
qualitative analysis, foods, food choices, imports, produce, health promotion, community supported agriculture, consumer information, consumer acceptance, food intake, eating habits, rural economics, willingness to pay, supermarkets, interviews, lifestyle, food prices, food quality, socioeconomic status, farmers, prepared foods, United Kingdom, France
The UK government is currently attempting to encourage consumers to buy more locally produced food. It is hoped that this will provide economic, environmental and social benefits to local areas, leading to more sustainable patterns of consumption. This qualitative study looks at the views and behaviour of consumers towards local foods with a particular focus on the barriers that prevent greater uptake of local produce. In total, four focus groups (n=33) were conducted. Content analysis identified six relevant themes in relation to local, national and imported foods. These were cost, lifestyle, food quality, consumer ethnocentrism, choice and farmers. Overall, although participants reported buying few local products currently, there was widespread enthusiasm across socio-economic groups for local foods, with participants perceiving them as being of a higher quality than imported foods. They also generally endorsed the idea of supporting local farmers and their own national economy. The main barriers preventing participants from buying more local products were price and inconvenience. The results are discussed in relation to developing future strategies for encouraging people to buy more local food products.