Over the last decade, the drive to support locally grown produce has intensified. In Canada, businesses are enjoying increased demands as support for products made locally are gaining traction. The idea of using fresh and locally sourced ingredients has taken over restaurant menus, supermarket shelves, and even our pantries at home. As the demand for local food grows, so does the call for consumers to support their local businesses, both online and in-store. More than half (56 percent) of Canadian consumers say they intend to shop online from domestic retailers in a bid to support local businesses. Meanwhile, 61 percent of Canadians support the idea that purchasing local food is important, and 30 percent of them are even willing to pay more for it. Whether it is driven by preference and patriotism or a desire to prepare the best food for their healthy lifestyle, the case for supporting local retailers is only growing.
Why Supporting Local Matters
When it comes to fresh produce, there has been much debate about the benefits of local food. Local produce is often offered for sale a few hours after harvesting which promotes a true farm to table concept. With such fresh produce, consumers can be assured they are getting the maximum taste and nutritional benefits from their food- a key part of a healthy diet.
However, it is not just about getting products of the best quality. Buying local also allows you more control and knowledge over your purchases. Local businesses tend to have better transparency and its easier to trace the route traveled from the raw materials to the stocking shelves. In addition, it also means supporting your neighbours. Local businesses are owned by residents of your community most of the time. By supporting them, you are helping small businesses to grow and stay in business. Lack of sales and cash flow issues are some of the most cited causes of half of small businesses failing within the first 5 years.
Think Local As You Grocery Shop
Estimates from Statistics Canada put the average spend on food per household to be $214 per person each month. However, with rising prices and inflation, Canadian families are pegged to spend up to $420 more on food. Although reports have shown Canadian consumers are willing to pay more for local produce, they may not have to. Research at many farmer’s markets and supermarkets have shown that local foods tend to be substantially cheaper than their imported version. For example, GoGo Quinoa’s new Puffs are only $3.99, which is comparable in price to its unhealthy chip-counterparts, but is also vegan, gluten-free, trans-fat free, and has 6 grams of protein per serving. Choosing local has never been easier!
To begin a shift in your shopping habits, start with locating supermarkets, farmers’ markets and specialty stores nearby that promote local produce. Food websites such as Mangez Quebec are quite useful for getting to know what products are locally produced, where to buy them and offer tips on how to differentiate local from imported. A great tip to maximize your chances of buying local is to shop for in-season produce. Build your meal plan around in-season and on-offer local produce each week before you shop. This push to support locally produced items should also extend to the dry goods you purchase. For example, our cookies are made in Quebec, which mitigates our environmental footprint and supports the local economy and job market.
Share Local Content On Your Social Media Accounts
Another great way to support local businesses is to publicize it. Social media accounts and platforms are now a fixture in the daily lives of many Canadians. Social network users are predicted to grow to 27.1 million by 2023 and have been tipped to be the future of food. This is mainly because many consumers search for food trends, recipes, and restaurants online while sharing their visually appealing images of dishes on social media. You can tag your locations and business names on your dining out or shopping experiences so that followers know where to go.
Share Your Thoughts With Your Friends And Family
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and ageless marketing tactics out there and a great way to increase support for local businesses. Sharing your experiences and thoughts with family, friends, and neighbours in the community can drive sales for local businesses. Recommendations from family and friends remain one of the top drivers of consumer purchases today. Whether it is mentioning it in a conversation to a friend or cooking up a meal for the entire family, you can promote your experience with local businesses and their products by simply talking about it.
These are just a handful of ways you can increase your support for local businesses. With so many options and even more reasons to do so, it has never been easier than now to start. Supporting local means much more than supporting the community, it means investing in everyone’s future.
Written by Ali Rennoll.