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"Local" the most influential product claim?


Love it or hate it, the local food movement has gone mainstream.

Locavores, as followers of this diet are known, have garnered a lot of media attention over the passed few years.

“The 100-Mile Diet,” written by two Canadians, quickly became a national bestseller; the movement is regularly featured on health shows; and First Lady Michelle Obama jumps on just about every opportunity to urge Americans to eat fresh, unprocessed, locally grown food.

No wonder, then, local food sales are booming. They rose from $4 billion in 2002 to $11 billion in 2011, according to data cited in a CNBC article.

This year, three quarters of specialty food retailers said “local” was the most influential product claim.

Government data backs the research.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture notes retail sales of fresh produce grew by an average 15 per cent between 1997 and 2007, while sales of organic goods jumped fourfold between 1997 and 2008 (note, not all organic food is local).

More reason for grocers to stock up on products from their own backyards.

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