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Understanding consumer choices for Ontario produce

  • Steven Dukeshire (a1), Oliver Masakure (a2), Julio Mendoza (a3), Bev Holmes (a4) and Nathan Murray (a1)...


Research has demonstrated growing public interest in local food and that this interest is driven by a number of factors including supporting local farmers, reducing the distance food travels, sustaining the environment, and food safety and quality. However, there has been very little research relating factors to actual purchase behavior. This study begins to fill that gap by relating consumer beliefs and values toward local foods with activities that support local foods as well as the actual purchase behavior for 22 fresh produce items. Data were collected through an Ontario-wide, web-based survey that is part of a longitudinal panel regarding food issues. Results from 1879 completed surveys indicated consumers had positive perceptions of local food and felt responsible for buying local, but also experienced barriers when trying to do so. Positive perceptions toward local food and a greater sense of personal responsibility to buy local were positively associated and higher barriers negatively associated with the likelihood of engaging in activities related to supporting local food as well as buying fresh produce items that were produced in Ontario. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context that consumers seem to have an overall orientation or schema to buying local in general, rather than a highly specific schema directed to one or a few particular products.


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