PORTLAND, Maine, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As the longest growing day of the year kicks off the start to summer today, the search for the freshest local food is on. Forager, whose digital procurement web and payments application connects local farmers with grocers and co-ops to bring consumers locally grown food, today announced the results of a new survey looking at the local food buying habits of New England and Upstate New York consumers.
More than 84 percent of respondents are shopping for local foods in stores, with vegetables (70%) like fresh greens and cucumbers, and fruit (47%) such as strawberries and tomatoes, at the top of consumers' wish lists. In fact, nearly 40 percent of respondents cited spending at least $50 or more a week on local food. And not only are consumers buying local because it tastes better (77%), but they also feel compelled to support the local economy and its farmers (94%) and the health of the planet (61%).
"With summer upon us, shoppers are prioritizing local, seasonal foods to take advantage of the bounty of this peak growing season," said David D. Stone, CEO and founder, Forager. "An analysis of our own customer's buying habits in their grocery stores and co-ops shows the same demand as seen in the survey, with asparagus, strawberries, arugula and other lettuces in the top of our purchase categories."
The survey results reflect a burgeoning trend of consumers demanding fresh and healthy foods, with the local food segment expected to reach $20 billion by next year, growing much faster than the overall food and beverage market. Yet, despite the increased demand, respondents to the survey cite dissatisfaction with the local offerings at their conventional grocers, as well as challenges to buying local.
More than 54 percent of Forager's survey respondents point to limited offerings in the stores as a significant barrier to buying local. This despite previous research indicating that the majority of grocers believe they are satisfying consumers' demand for fresh food. The disconnect comes down to challenges facing both grocers/buyers and farmers/producers. For grocers, the traditional process of finding and doing business with multiple local farmers has historically been expensive, inefficient, manual, and error-prone. Farmers also struggle with inefficient processes like sharing their products and updating their availability.
Recognizing this, Forager's innovative digital procurement platform removes these barriers to sourcing fresh, healthy foods to help consumers put more local food on their tables this summer—and every season. With 12,000 unique local products in its online digital catalogue, the platform is the largest of its kind in New England. For more information about the Forager digital procurement platform and how to help grow the local food economy, please visit goforager.com.
About Forager™ (Forager1, LLC)
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company's online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see goforager.com.