news_0023_Layer 16

Local heritage matters in a globalised world

Our connection with food is an emotional one, spurring us to often pay more for heritage and the memories provenance brings.

Over the last few years, “local food” has become synonymous with high quality, freshness and environmentally friendly.  Whether this is always true is up for debate, but what we know for certain is that the market for local is significant and growing.

According to recent research from Packaged Facts, foods from specific places is expected to overtake organic foods, focusing marketers’ attention on ways to emphasise, or even create, provenance where they can.

This is not a very new concept; think Champagne, Gorgonzola, Parma Ham and even Eccles Cakes to name a few.  What is new is the acceleration in the number of food and drink companies taking steps to safeguard their names and brand equity.  In 1993, the EU Protected Food Name programme was launched to help regional and traditional products defend themselves from copycats, since when brands have been lining up to attain that elusive Protected Designation Of Origin (PDO) status.

Some of the many successful contenders include Beaufort and Feta cheeses, Whitstable Oysters, Modena Balsamic Vinegar, Azores Honey and Waterford Blaa Bread.  Other UK foods include Stilton, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Cornish clotted cream, Jersey royal potatoes amongst others.

So what are the collusion of factors driving the quest for local connections?  Societal, political and economic trends have meant consumers have lost faith in institutions, regulators and retailers promising authenticity but in fact often revealed as anything but.  Social media has quickly exposed those making untrue claims, spreading the word in 140 characters or less.  The horsemeat scandal, mad cow disease, pot noodle recalls as well as questionable corporate practices beyond the food and drink sectors have eroded trust in fundamental ways.  Just a quick review of the last few years’ Edelman Trust Barometer surveys can tell you the extent of this trust deficit in global corporates and their brands.

No surprise then that shoppers in Europe, the US and other markets around the world are seeking truthful claims and products they can rely on to represent unadulterated memories of home and holidays.

As the consumer search for honest products spreads, look out for ever more local, place-based branding which bring easy relevance and resonance.  It may not be long before supermarkets realise the power of provenance with special sections in their own stores.  The trick for them is creating a trusted brand for themselves which draws in the spenders in the first place.

Scroll to Top