When you think in terms of local and regional goods, what do you think of?

What does it mean to be “local”? What about “regional”?

In focus groups, women say that buying local, more and more, matters to them. When pressed for what local means to them, we do an interesting dance.

  • “What does local mean to you”
  • That it comes from close by.”
  • “So is an egg produced by a chicken within 50 miles local?”
  • “(usually) Yes.”
  • “Farther than 50 miles??”
  • “No.”
  • “What about your beer – how close is local?”
  • (Run through similar questioning)

makes-beerAt the same time, because the conversation invariably turns to the fact that say hops is grown in limited areas of the world, then the definition is stretched to accommodate. And, knowing that, it’s perfectly fine with them.

They are telling us that local is a balance to strike – like everything else. Yes, they’d love it if all the ingredients were sourced locally, yet they realize that the crops are not necessarily available – so that is factored in.

Regional, well, that extends the definition even farther. If they want, say, a Midwest beer – wow! They’ve got a warehouse full of great choices. California? Same drill. Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota? It gets dicey simply due to sheer numbers.

So pay attention to how you advertise your ingredients. It can be a big plus – when a component is sourced close by. Just as importantly balanced out as buying organic. These are all conversations with your consumers and supporters you know. Talk it up.

Find out what it means to your patrons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by Adrian Midgley

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