NurtureME Brand AudienceLocal Maine Grown and Produced Food
“If consumers become consciousof the weight of their purchase decisions, if they learn to lean towards brands whose valuesthey support and see as factors for social progress, they can exercise a decisive influence on the evolution of society.” Chevalier & Mazzalovo, ProLogo, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, 2004: 215
“Each brand must analyze its identity and seek out the target consumers it can most easily convince.” Chevalier & Mazzalovo, ProLogo, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, 2004: 219
Test Group: Maine Residents•! Created a Maine Resident Local Food Survey•! Found the group by: –! Messaging facebook friends living in Maine –! Emailing friends and relatives –! Chose a handful (~10+) of farmers per region to email from the Get Real, Get Maine website database –! Spread by email/word of mouth
Most Important•! They would like a greater percentage of the food they buy to be locally grown•! The number one reason they buy local is to support their community•! Most respondents who sell their food produce it sustainably•! The audience is primarily female
They Would Realistically Like to Buy Between 50 – 100%
The Biggest Reason MainersEat Local Food is to Support their Local Community
Farmer’s Markets & RoadsideStands are the Most Popular Places to Buy Local Food
Ideal Ways to Purchase Local Food Suggested:•! #1 – Farmer’s Markets (44 responses)•! #2 – At the local grocery store (39 responses)•! #3 – Co-op (17 responses)•! Like the variety of options•! My favorite way would be to have it readily identified and available no matter where I went.•! A store where local farmers can bring their produce to be sold, like a co-op, or year round farmers market, but with a cafe, or bakery with goods made locally.•! From a number of sources that were convenient and well advertised.•! At local High School FFA Farmstand
Ideal Ways to Purchase Cont. •! One big indoor Farmers market year round and not to far from home. •! Local co-ops and green grocers in every town...that is my dream ((( : •! "Year-round" farmers markets •! I think I need to make a bigger commitment to buying local even though its more expensive... •! Grocery store - if I could trust that they got it from a Maine farm and if I knew about that farm. •! I would like to do micro-loans to local diversified farms [local meaning within my town, not within my county or state] so as to be able to eat when the economy goes to hell in a hand-basket. Then I would be able to bike to the farm, or walk there with my handbasket.
Mainers are Interested in More Heirloom Varieties,Especially Vegetables & Fruits
Specific Foods they Wish Were Available Locally•! Everything possible to be grown in Maine!•! More grains, beans, fruits, nuts, meats and fish•! Artisanal cheeses and dairy products from cows that are raised under conditions that are Certified Humane.•! Id be happy to support non traditional New England food varieties - can you grow bananas in Maine?•! More winter greens•! Exotic vegetables and herbs (asian, indian, other ethnic ingredients)•! Would love to see someone working on sub-tropicals in a greenhouse setting•! A grinder at the local market for grinding fresh flour like we do for coffee.
Food Wish-List Continued•! Mushrooms and nuts are difficult to find. In addition, value added foods such as pre-made soups or casseroles and the like are very difficult to find because licensing regulations make it nearly impossible and cost prohibitive for folks to become licensed.•! Anything that could be offered at a reasonable price and not organic. Organic is over-rated and over priced.•! Price is everything in Washington County - we just need decent fresh food heirloom or not. The fresh food in the grocery stores is fresh in name only - very poor quality.•! Lots more basic foods normally consumed by regular folks. I have gourmet tastes, but cant afford cheese, fish and meat at $20 per pound. I would like to see us produce food for regular shoppers who would never set foot in a farmers market or hoity-toity Co-op.
Transportation the Biggest Problem, but not by Much
“Other” Problems:•! Customers dont know what to do with it.•! Keeping it fresh on the stand without so much waste.•! No time to promote.•! I dont live on a main road.•! We cant grow enough to meet demand.•! Getting the word out to customers to shop locally.•! Labor availability and cost.•! General public is too lazy to go the extra step to walk away from the conventional market.•! Inconsistent availability.
More Farmers Believe There are Enough Places to Sell
“Other” Responses•! Takes effort to access others.•! Mine, yes. But as more folks begin to farm, there needs to be a broader range and number of low-threshold outlets.•! There are never enough places to sell.•! Yes. But that could be temporary.•! I would like to sell to my bioregion and save on transportation costs.•! Yes, but its a matter of finding them.•! Some organization of places and transportation pools would make selling easier. e.g Pooling transportation for CSA deliveries, chefs groups interested in buying, storeowners groups interested in buying, etc.•! The movement of local food is progressing through more markets- optimistic.•! Yes, if the governmental regulations weren’t so strict.•! The "easy" market is getting saturated and competitive, need to make a concerted effort to pull in the non-locavore type.•! Yes, but we always would like more.
They Would Generally Like More Resources to Share Knowledge
“Other” Response Highlights•! The adult ed offers incredible agricultural courses - even more would be terrific•! Certified kitchen•! Small Farmers Cooperatives•! Mandatory GMO & source labeling.•! We have too many of the same thing going on. Too many separate Maine food locators and organizations. We need to bring them all together.•! More CSAs with winter shares program and potlucks•! A number of farmers I know have suggested the high value potential of a Maine Ag News source --- radio program and internet content.•! Local schools-Farm days
Farmers Wish the Mainers Knew Many Things About Local Food•! Out of 92 responses, 72 had something they wished Mainers knew about local food.•! Their answers were inspiring
Highlights– Wish Consumers Knew…•! It’s more available than they think•! Its not as expensive as they think.•! The cost of industrial food is largely subsidized & the prices at farmers markets reflect the real cost of growing safe food on small-scale farms•! How to store/prepare/cook it•! Local foods are more nutritious since they are fresher•! It keeps their money local, creates jobs, and supports other Mainers rather than corporations•! Good food security•! Fresh tastes best!
Highlights Continued•! It is generally safer than mass produced ag products.•! Does not have to be organic to be good (understand the difference between organic and sustainable).•! Its not all the same, branding of individual producers is very important•! Most countries citizens pay between 30-50% of their household budget for food. The typical US consumer spends 10-15%. That will change.•! People who produce local foods care about what people are eating. They want people to be healthy. They want them to see that food can taste good. The pride and love that people put into a food products comes out in the taste, look and appeal.
“Ah-ha” Ideas About Ways to Sell More Food•! Provide recipes with food•! Let people try it, invite them to the farm•! Farmers Cooperatives linked with farmers markets and CSAs. A Small Farm trade organization to represent (i.e. LOBBY) the small farmers.•! More signage•! Local buying clubs•! Distribute copies of the movie Food, Inc.•! Ask customers what they want•! Centralized local marketplace•! Mobile flash freezing trailer
Two Towns Moving Forward with their “Ah-ha” Ideas•! The recent local food ordinance in Sedgwick Maine that allows home processed food to be sold without all the usual licensing requirements.•! We are working on many projects here in Skowhegan. –! Absorbing seconds from farmers for value added and frozen foods to extend their availability into winter. –! Multi-farm CSAs. –! Markets more days of the week and varying hours. –! Working towards logical food safety certification and working away from GAP-type food safety policy which is not based on logic and leaves loopholes for unsafe practices so that the larger groceries could accept more local food from diversified farms.
Requested Specific Foods Highlights•! More Italian-style cheeses. There is a huge market for mozzarella in this state -- think about it -- every gas station and mom & pop store sells pizza! Catsup.•! Customers sometimes ask for produce that is out of season.•! There is a market demand for local veal and lamb which isnt being met.•! More good artisanal crusty breads•! I have had MANY people ask for gluten-free baked goods.•! Every one thinks they have a idea to make your farm better. You plant what ask for and 60% of them never ask for it again.
Request Highlights Continued•! More availability of Raw Milk, organic fruits like strawberries and raspberries as well as tree fruits like apples, pears, mulberries, peaches, and plums, cereal grains and flours, grass fed meats, nut trees, cultured dairy products like cheese or yogurt.•! Sweet corn seems to be at the top of many peoples lists. I havent the land for it but have passed it on to other farmers who do...and may I say, its the most wonderful thing to be able to participate in such a conversation. The chain stores never ask me if I care for anything- other than paper or plastic.•! More perennial vegetables, fruits, nuts, and mushrooms (i.e. things that dont require the same labor and fuel inputs as annual ag/fishing to produce high yields of nutrients and calories).
Comments•! One thing that keeps me from buying things is when the visual quality is of food isnt very good. More specifically, apples that are organically grown. Intellectually I know that the apple is better but it often looks awful and I wont buy it. Im hoping that more can be done in the future to organically treat apples.•! Cost and availability are the main factors prohibiting the purchase and consumption of locally produced food. Change these factors and I would change what I consume and purchase.•! Maine has attempted several times to ""brand"" agriculture, and currently has the ""Get Real, Get Maine!"" program, which evolved from a very interesting and exhaustive study. I think this program could be very successful in Maine if it had even been supported by our state financially. Thanks for your time!
Comments Cont.•! I like that Hannaford in particular carries a lot of locally grown food. I will spend a little bit extra to buy local, but not a lot extra.•! We can do better!!!!!•! Great idea! I am a farmer. We need something more than Get Real Get Maine.•! More advertising as to the benefits of buying locally produced foods. A catchy a slogan for Maine foods.•! There needs to be more awareness to tourists---such as those coming in off the cruise ships--about available local food--make farmers markets a tourist attraction. Should be more available at the large supermarkets. School kids need to know more about where food comes from.•! We feel blessed to be part of such an amazing agricultural community within the state of Maine.
Comments Cont.•! Local food is a strong deterrent to a weak economy, it is a supportive brace to its communitys backbone that strengthens all parts of the whole and maintains its resilience regardless of the depleting woes that other food systems and its dependents are now realizing.•! Quality is high, but working and lower class families are not buying. Part of this is stigma of expensive locally produced food, part of it is the consumers unwillingness to change, part of it is that the costs of production keep rising, yet farmers are pressured to short sell their produce to meet industrial ag market standards, industrial Ag has hijacked phrases like "farm fresh" and we need to take them back with a unified marketing effort like "Idaho Potatoes,” "pork, the other white meat" and the "milk mustache.”•! Great survey, thanks for pushing and working on this!
Summary - Themes•! Food security – people are ready for oil to run out and climate change to cause food shortages•! Food safety (pesticides, GMO, labeling)•! Strong community support•! Many people garden•! Convenience is important•! People love the variety of foods Maine can offer
Focus Group•! 50+ people interested in participating•! Keep the conversation going•! Ask them questions such as: “Think of someone who is not involved in the local food movement. How do we appeal to them?”•! Inform the values, look and feel of the brand•! Point out known issues