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Blog

15 July 2020

7 Reasons Why Consumers Should Buy Local Food - An Economic Perspective

Many of us try to buy locally as often as possible. We are drawn to the phrase ‘buy local’ or ‘support local’ for many apparent reasons. Food travels less, promising a higher nutritional value and improved ‘original’ taste, or for the simple fact that we are supporting our local community, helping local farms grow and thrive.

 

There’s more to the ‘buy local’ movement than meets the eye. As early as 1914, during the first world war, Canadians saw imported products as a threat, so opted for ‘buying Canadian’ instead. In the United States, the “Buy American Act” was launched in 1933 and made it a requirement for the American government to prioritize American-made products over imported goods.

 

In this post, we will have a closer look at some benefits of buying local. We know it’s the right thing to buy and support local businesses, but what are the economic impacts and how exactly does buying local benefit consumers? 

 

1 - Helping the local economy

 

A study was conducted in London that compared what happens when consumers buy products at a supermarket vs a local farm or community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. In the end, they found that twice the amount of profit stayed within the community when consumers bought their produce locally. It comes as no surprise when you choose to spend money on locally grown food - it keeps your money in your community.

 

2 - Helping build thriving communities

 

Research shows that non-profit organizations receive 250% more support from small businesses than large corporations, so by buying local, you are helping small businesses focus on their interests and the needs of their local customers. Down the pipeline, this guarantees a broader range of choices when it comes to the products small businesses are making and able to put out for their customers.

 

3 - More jobs, better service

 

There is a ton of value in supporting local programs because, at the core, they promote and foster good local jobs, like higher-paid management, sales and marketing positions that a local company builds right here in the community. Local employees are passionate about what they do because they see the impacts directly and can quickly impart change and improvements based on local data and observations.

 

4 - Better treatment of the environment

 

A lot of research has gone into the ‘food miles’ concept. Today, the average meal might travel up to 1200 km from a farm to someone’s plate. So, for obvious reasons, food that is grown closer to its consumer with have fewer transportation emissions attached to it, meaning it will also be fresher, and all the while, you will be supporting your local grower and producer. There is also less need for processing and refrigeration to reduce food spoilage.

 

5- A sound ethical choice

 

We might not concern ourselves with the implications of ethical decision making, but as local buyers, we should and we can. From purchasing fair-trade products and thereby supporting safer and more fair working conditions, our money is going toward supporting a neighbour’s business, promoting diversity and the community. So, we can make moral purchasing decisions that have a more significant impact on humankind and the environment.

 

6 - Encouraging innovation

 

All innovations start with an idea, and one could argue that a passionate community of like-minded people could fuel some great ideas. Perhaps, it is the presence of meeting immediate challenges, as it a situation where consumers need to turn to large grocery chains for particular products – this signals an opportunity for someone local to bring the product to the local market. Local producers can get creative, so more consumers become willing to buy from them.

 

7 - Higher quality

 

Again, because of a shorter farm to table journey, consumers can expect higher levels of freshness and quality. One could say locally sourced goods are lovingly-produced, and purchasing products made with more focus and dedicated time creates a domino effect. That ripe plum has become delicious homemade baby food, a ripple in cheesecake-berry flavoured ice cream coming directly from a local farm creamery, and a chef’s new primary ingredient in his first-course meal.

 

We all have our reasons for buying local or not. There are going to be benefits to both sides, but we hope today we have given you a greater line of sight when it comes to purchasing your food locally!

 

References:

 

http://www.tradeready.ca/2016/trade-takeaways/face-off-buy-local-vs-buy-global/

https://www.smallbizdaily.com/buy-buy-local-movement/

https://arrowquip.com/blog/animal-science/top-benefits-buying-locally-grown-food#:~:text=Buying locally grown food can,your money in your community.&text=It Creates Jobs: Small local,economy because they create jobs.