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Will 2019 Be the Year of Healthy Eating?

Forager survey shows eating local food tops new year’s resolution lists.

Customers often say they want healthy food, but will 2019 be the year they commit to more healthful choices?

A new survey shows a timely demand for local, fresh food, as the answer to the Top two new year’s resolutions of respondents: the longstanding, annual consumer commitment to losing weight and eating healthy.

Forager, whose digital procurement platform connects local farmers with grocers and food co-ops to bring consumers locally-grown food, asked consumers why they want to go local—and what barriers they’re facing.

Respondents identified “local, fresh” as their top criteria (27%) for “healthy” food, closely followed by “vegetarian/vegan”(24%) and “organic” (22%)—common attributes of local produce. In good news for that traditional new year’s weight loss goal, 47% of respondents noted “tastes better” as a driver to buy local food.

Consumers aren’t the only beneficiaries of local food—64% said that “supporting the local economy” was a purchasing motivator. The sticking point—availability, with 100% of respondents citing either “limited options” and/or “unavailable at stores” as their biggest challenges to buying local food. The opportunity for conventional and independent grocers is clear, with 93% of respondents stating that they would buy more local food, if their primary grocery stores offered it.

“Over one-third of respondents stated that the best place for them to find local food is farmers’ markets or farm shares/CSAs (i.e., seasonal markets), rather than independent or large regional grocery stores,” noted David Stone, founder, Forager. “This means that grocers are missing a critical opportunity to offer the consumers what they want most—access to fresh, local food year-round.”

Nationwide, the local food segment is expected to reach $20 billion this year and is growing much faster than the overall food and beverage market. The disconnect between supply and demand comes down to challenges facing both grocers/buyers and farmers/producers. For grocers, the traditional process of finding and doing business with multiple local farmers has historically been expensive, inefficient, manual, and error-prone. Farmers also struggle with inefficient processes like sharing their products and updating their availability.

Recognizing this, Forager’s innovative digital procurement platform removes these barriers to sourcing fresh, healthy foods to help consumers put more local food on their tables, year-round.


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