Consumers Choose Artisanal Foods and Beverages Over Local: NMI Study

HARLEYSVILLE, Pa. -- The popularity of local foods among consumers has been touted in the media and proclaimed by supermarkets in the past year. But new research from the Natural Marketing Institute here suggests that artisanal foods - or those products that are seen as unique or exclusive -- may be an even stronger draw.

Results from a survey from the NMI's 2007 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database show that given a choice between artisanal, fair trade, organic, and local foods/beverages, both general population adults and LOHAS consumers ranked artisanal first -- followed by fair trade, organic and local. (LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability.)

"The concept of buying local has received a great deal of media attention this year," noted NMI managing partner Steve French in a statement. "It was interesting to discover that of the four choices presented to them, consumers ranked it last, and that artisanal was by far the most important criteria. This observation points out the need to stay abreast of ever-changing consumer trends."

In ranking artisanal first, consumers voice their interest in more unique products rather than mass commoditization that has traditionally driven the market, according to NMI. Artisanal products tend to be more exclusive, and therefore provide the consumer with a way in which to feel distinctive about their purchase.
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