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Abstract

Consumer interest in locally produced foods has been increasing and many grocery retailers and other businesses have been involved in marketing local foods to interested consumers. We study the business strategies that food consumer cooperatives in the U.S. use to promote local foods to their patrons. Data are collected from a national survey of the general managers of food cooperatives. This study’s objectives are: 1) to analyze the types of business strategies and frequency of use for these business strategies to promote local foods and 2) to identify the types of food cooperatives that are more versus less intense users of these promotion strategies. Unlike previous studies, the emphasis for this study is on promotion/marketing strategies as opposed to sourcing/working with local farmers business strategies. We use principal component analysis and cluster analysis to group food co-ops based on their involvement with local food promotion activities. We find that food co-ops can be grouped into three main clusters based on the size of the food co-op and its location. These findings can be used by food cooperatives and other local food retailers to attract consumers and increase local food sales.

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