When being local modifies consumers’ perception.
In 2014, an IPSOS survey revealed that now, 70% of French consumed more local products than 2 years ago. Recession, repetitive food crises, social responsibility… many reasons come to mind as explicative factors. But could it simply be a matter of taste?
This is the question Aurelie Merle, Catherine Herault-Fournier and Carolina Werle address in their research published in Research and Applications in Marketing.
A better taste for the same product
This research surveyed 632 consumers. It shows that the mere fact of indicating their home “departement” (French counties) modifies consumers’ perception of a food product. It is perceived as tastier and healthier than a product indicating “made in France” or in another region. The product is also considered more environmental friendly and more respectful of farmers’ work. Ultimately, consumers are more likely to buy it.
Indicating the geographical origin leads to more concrete representations of the way the product was cultivated. These representations have a positive influence on:
- Sanitary quality
- Eating quality
- Environmental quality
- Perception of producers’ support
- Buying intention
From apples to cheese, is it possible to label everything local?
Aurelie Merle, professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management highlights the importance of these results for the local councils as well as for the farmers willing to promote their products on local markets: “We have purposely looked at the case of products that are not specialities of the regions were the study was carried out: apples and cheese. We then show the positive bias induced by the local aspect is also true for products that are not typical from a given region, although they must be consistent with it”.
“As the consumer feels closer to the product and to the place of production he or she can imagine more concretely how the product was cultivated. This is how we explain this perceptual bias”.
Is this local effect mostly happening for people that are attached to their region? Results show the effect work regardless of the attachment to a particular region. This is a study that should particularly attract local councils, producers and distributers.
And what about you? Do you think apples are better if they are produced locally?