Search This Blog

Monday, 26 September 2011

Help the New Forest’s local food businesses improve their online marketing

Whilst the term ‘local food’ is frequently used, there appears to be no generally agreed or widely adopted definition with the concept meaning different things to different people. Local food is predominantly about distance between where food is produced and consumed, with 30 miles commonly cited by the big supermarkets as their definition.

But it’s important to recognise the difference between ‘locality food’ which is marketed and sold both nationally and internationally based on being produced in a specific geographical region, and ‘local food’ which is produced and consumed locally. Alternatively, Sustain include a number of, albeit loosely specified, environmental, animal welfare, employment, fair trading relations, producer profitability and cultural conditions in their definition of local food.

When asked, 70% of British consumers say they want to buy local food suggesting they care about the provenance of their food. However, this appetite for local does not convert into sales with local foods accounting for less than 5% of the UK grocery market.

Research by the Institute of Grocery Distribution has identified the main barriers preventing people buying local food as:

  • Lack of awareness that local foods exist
  • Believe they lack practical access to local foods
  • Think it is out of their price range
  • Believe they cannot rely on its availability

According to research published this month by a major supermarket trade magazine, the provenance of food is only the fifth most important issue for customers after price, taste, quality and brand. But supporters of local food would point to research by the same magazine that found 76% of shoppers agree or strongly agree that buying local or regional food supports jobs and boosts the economy.

Local groups such as Hampshire Fare exist specifically to actively promote the benefits of buying local produce, and these benefits include taste and quality. However, it is clear that supporters of local food need to raise awareness and overcome some of the wrongly held beliefs that currently prevent people from buying local foods.

A local student is currently researching opportunities for Hampshire’s local food businesses to embrace online marketing and you can help increase consumption of Hampshire's quality produce by completing this survey:

Do you consciously buy any foods because they're produced locally in the New Forest? Leave your comment below.


  1. Yes, we try to buy food locally sourced, not always easy and can be expensive, but the less miles it has to travel the better it tastes!

  2. Yes, I love the local cheeses, chutneys, beers and often buy them in Setley Ridge Farm shop, Brockenhurst.
    I also like Young's honey from Sway, and try and source as many of my veggies as locally as possible.
    There is a local community website in the forest that supports local food - The New Forest Food Challenge
    and there is a specific label - the New Forest Marque - which verifies food is locally sourced in the forest - google - New Forest Produce.

  3. Thanks for bringing this to people's attention. Any business consultant would advise that online presence is vital in today's competitive markets.