Sustainable Farming and Social Responsibility lead trends in consumer buying preferences

A new report is out from the Nielsen group which tracks consumer food buying preferences. And the news is good for local food producers.

Sales of products that advocate sustainable farming are up by 14% over last year.  Products that portray social responsibility are up by 8%.  Additionally, a vast majority of consumers (68%) believe it’s important that companies embrace practices that are good for the environment.  Almost half of consumers (48%) are willing to follow that sentiment with their pocket book by changing their buying habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

Who are these sustainable shoppers? 

  • A majority of US households (64%) say they buy sustainable products.
  • They are online (67% are digitally engaged).
  • 11% are more likely to shop online than in store.
  • When they shop online, they are 22% are more likely to shop on a mobile device.
  • Demographics:  They are affluent families, with 66% more likely to have children under the age of 6; 47% are more likely to live in a household with incomes greater than $150,000.

What does this mean for farmers and food producers selling locally?

  • Polish your marketing messaging to include an emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility.
  • Nielsen findings further confirm UC Davis’s CSA Survey (Galt, 2015), finding price is not necessarily a barrier for local food.  75% of surveyed CSA members with annual income >$15,000 indicate they are willing to pay up 19% more to provide a fairer salary for the farmer.
  • Have an online presence so shoppers can find your farm with their mobile device. Not only is Facebook a great place to start, research proves social media can be a rocket booster for your small business.
  • Once shoppers find you online, make sure they can easily place an order.  Use the internet as a low cost sales channel.