According to IGD, which conducted a survey of over 1000 shoppers in the UK, designed to be a representative sample of the population, 30 per cent said they have specifically bought local food in the last month. The same survey in 2006, just 15 per cent gave an affirmative answer to the same question.
Of these, some 57 per cent gave their reason for pocking local foods as perceived freshness, as it has not had to travel so far.
But 54 per cent also said the wanted to support local producers (up from 28 per cent in 2006); 34 per cent wanted to support total retailers (up from 18 per cent); and 29 per cent said they wanted to keep local jobs in the area (up from 14 per cent).
A spokesperson from the market research organisation confirmed that the questions posed included manufactured goods, such a locally-made pie, not just fresh meat and produce. The survey was conducted at a range of shopping sites, from retailers to farm shops.
Some 31 per cent of respondents said they would like to see more local food available to them (up from 12 per cent in 2005); 20 per cent of people said they would like a farm shop to be established near them.
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, was not surprised by the findings, even coming on the back of the worst recession since the 1930s.
“These figures prove what we have been saying throughout the recession – shoppers are looking for both value and values,” she said. “They are not simply looking for cheap food in tough times, they also expect the grocery industry to support their moral and ethical values.”
The survey also found swelling interest in Fairtrade goods, with 27 per cent saying they had bought it in the last month (up from 9 per cent in 2006), and 18 per cent reported buying products with high animal welfare standards (up from 12 per cent).
The full findings of the survey are published in the 2010 edition of IGD’s paid-for Shopper Trends report.