The Divergence of Defining Local Food – Consumer Co-op versus Conventional Grocery Shoppers

The “Locally grown” or “buy local” concept has brought tremendous impacts in many different market venues. This study focuses on finding whether there is any difference on the local definition between traditional shoppers (Kentucky food consumers) and food co-op shoppers. Particularly, the definition of “local” is discussed in three different concepts, i.e., geographical, practical, and supportive concepts. Our results reveal that shoppers between food co-op and traditional stores define local quite differently. An interesting outcome indicates that the food co-op shoppers don’t hold a consistent definition of local if we segment shoppers into three groups, like the core/mid-level/periphery based on the percentage of shopping at store. The primary contribution of this study is the identification of clear consumer differences across consumers’ viewpoints on the definition of local across stores between the traditional and food co-op shoppers with important merchandising and sourcing implications for corresponding grocers.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-29

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