Let’s eat local in the South!
Populatioun demands for local food
Resuls of the survey on consumer demand fir local food products
In connection with the Minett UNESCO Biosphere, the PRO-SUD syndicate has made food a territorial development issue. Its objective is to develop local and bio-local food resources in short circuits in order to respond to various issues:
A future for the short circuit?
To find out whether there is consumer demand, the municipalities, supported by the Ministry of Regional Planning, and the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) launched a survey in November 2020 and February 2021 among a representative sample of households in the southern region.
Thanks to the participation of 824 households living in the South region, an initial diagnosis of their habits and expectations has been carried out.
The survey shows
The existence of a demand for local food products
The results of the survey illustrate, on the one hand, the willingness of the inhabitants of the southern region to consume more local products and, on the other hand, demonstrate an interesting margin of progression of their consumption provided that the offer is consistent. Thus :
- 86% of participants said they had consumed local products in the last three months
- 55% buy them every week
- On average, 38% say they are ready to increase their consumption of products from their region. This average rises to 60% and 65% for fruit and vegetables.
- Currently, almost 45% of respondents say they spend at least 50 euros per week on local products
- In the future, more than half of the respondents (54%) are willing to pay at least 5% more for a local product.
- Finally, households consider that their sale/purchase should primarily support the activity of local producers. Nearly 60% would be willing to increase their consumption if they were fully confident that they were supporting local producers.
It also shows that almost all the participants, 41% of whom work in a whit- or blue-collar occupation, are prepared to change their menu with the aim of limiting their carbon footprint and respecting seasonal products.
In projecting their consumption in the future, 14% are willing to make their purchases through direct sales, compared to 7.5% at present. This predisposition concerns in particular the purchase of fruit and vegetables (19%), eggs (18.5%) and honey (17.5%). While organic shops seem to enjoy a stable clientele over time, 20% of participants, compared to 12.5%, say they are ready to buy more products in their traditional shops: this applies in particular to the purchase of meat (29%) and bread (35%).
Factors limiting the purchase of local products:
Two major difficulties were identified as hindering the purchase of local products:
- on the one hand, a lack of knowledge of existing products (this finding is similar to that of a national survey conducted in July by the Ministry of Agriculture)
- and on the other hand, limited access to a wide range of quality local products in one place, thus optimising the time spent shopping.
62.5% do not know how to identify local products and it is finally the products with strong marketing that are more recognised. Furthermore, 45% and 40% respectively would like to have more information on the origin and production methods of the products.
More than 58% of the participants buy most local products in supermarkets. The latter have been able to adapt to the new demands and are well distributed in each of the communes of the Southern Region, allowing the vast majority of respondents to do their shopping in their commune of residence. However, the survey revealed a clear demand for shops offering a wider range of local products, preferably at their usual place of purchase (75% of respondents). In this context, 50% consider the idea of collective shops interesting: for the product, this alternative model offers better visibility and for the consumer, this type of shop saves time.
Graph : Incentives used by households
The three qualities sought: traceability – environment – health
For three quarters of the respondents, a local product can come from the national territory outside the Southern Region as well as from the border municipalities: while this is synonymous with an open-mindedness towards the region, it also refers to the absence of a food identity specific to the Minette region.
Participants also want a local product to respect the environment and animal welfare (a clear priority for 38%) and to be better for health (the priority for 32%). However, only 23% of respondents consider an BIO label as a motivation to buy. It should be noted that the notion of environmental impact takes on several meanings depending on the individual: traceability and the absence of plastic packaging constitute a strong motivation for purchasing for 56% and 50% of respondents respectively. This is an opportunity to remind people that local products should not be confused with biologically produced products.
Finally, this triptych of traceability – environment – health perhaps explains why 40% of respondents practice self-production, essentially in their private gardens but also in shared gardens. Among these respondents, it is worth noting that a quarter are aged between 20 and 39, which shows a new interest in this practice and thus seems to open up good prospects for local sales.
The next steps:
The conclusions highlight several possible lines of development that now need to be analysed with decision-makers and professionals in order to co-construct an action plan. Some projects can be implemented quickly, such as the development of a regional publicity campaign with the aim of remedying the lack of awareness of local products and producers/craftsmen. On the other hand, others require a complementary approach to be pursued in 2022.
Information videos (in French only):
Methodology of the survey
Definition of local products
Local products of the Minett
The results of the survey (in French):