Direct marketing to restaurants has become increasingly popular as chefs desire high quality, fresh foods to meet the demand of their customers who are becoming more health conscious. Restaurants accounted for approximately 70 percent of the 2009 total food expenditures, and as a result represent a tremendous potential for developing a sustainable network with local growers. This study seeks to determine restaurant/chefs’ preferences for local food in Alabama using choice based conjoint analysis, as well as, determine challenges faced by restaurants interested in purchasing locally. Availability and lack of knowledge are found to be the major barriers to purchasing locally. Results also suggest there is great potential for direct marketing to restaurants in Alabama that producers are not currently utilizing.


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