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Is “Locally Sourced”​ the New “Organic”​?

As part of the Upsiide 2019 Food Trends study, we examined sourcing methods. Our goal was to find out which sourcing methods are popular in Canada and the United States, and how their popularity varies across genders and generations.

What did we find?

Local sourcing is the leading trend in North America

The majority of respondents like food that is farmed in their own country, and locally farmed/locally manufactured food. In the US, 70% like “Farmed in USA” and 69% like “Locally farmed”; in Canada, 78% like “Farmed in Canada” and 71% like “Locally farmed”. “Locally manufactured” is also popular in both countries, chosen by 61% of Americans and 65% of Canadians. Previous studies show that Americans’ main driver in buying locally sourced food is supporting local businesses. In addition, locally sourced food is perceived as higher quality, better tasting, healthier and better for the environment. Similarly, Canadians’ main motive in buying local food are supporting the local economy, and its perceived qualities of being better for the environment, more fresh, better tasting and safer to eat.

Consumers want ethical meat

Another leading trend is ethically sourced meat. The majority of US respondents like “Meat that is fed a “natural” diet” (65%), “Humanely raised animals” (63%), “Meat raised without antibiotics” (60%), and “Free range meats” (55%). The numbers are even higher in Canada: 66%, 66%, 67% and 59%, respectively. In both countries, this trend is led by women. Indeed, it has been found that Americans are increasingly concerned about the welfare of farm animals and are paying attention to labels that indicate how the animals were raised; and Canadians want to see clearer labels on animal products indicating how the animals were raised.

Clean label, transparent sourcing also popular

Two other sourcing methods that are important to consumers, especially women, are “Clean label” and “Transparent sourcing”. “Clean label” is popular among 65% of respondents in the US and Canada; “Transparent sourcing” is popular among 62% of US respondents and 65% of Canada respondents. In our network maps, “Clean label” and “Transparent sourcing” are closely associated with local sourcing and ethical meat attributes; indicating that consumers see a connection between close to home, “clean” and ethical foods. Previous research has found that the majority of consumers believe that clean label is important and will pay extra for clean label ingredients. This can be attributed at least partially to the growth of organic, non-GMO and natural movements, as well as recent major food recalls. In regard to transparent sourcing, previous research has found that most consumers want to know everything that goes into their food and are increasingly reading the ingredients list rather than trusting marketing claims on the packaging.

Interested in viewing the full results and analysis?

Download the Report

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