For several years while my two boys were teenagers, we subscribed to a local farm’s CSA program. They delivered a box of in-season produce to our door every week. We also opted for local meats in our order.
This #buylocal option was definitely more expensive, but we justified the expense, as I think most people do, with the belief we were doing good for local businesses, the environment and the animals. When we were eating the local meats, I used to tell the boys it was meat from “happy” cows, or pigs, or chickens. We believed that by buying local meat, using less of the “factory farmed” products, we were making life better for the cow/pig/chicken.
It turns out, I fall right into the target demographic for #localfood businesses, such as farmer’s markets, small local food retailers, specialty food retailers and other farm-to-table businesses.
Research (here and here) shows that these enterprises should aim their marketing at married women in higher income brackets. The women using their services are likely to have a family and an interest in gardening. In terms of their attitudes and values, these consumers are often food advocates and people of strong opinions. They are generally eco-conscious, have strong diet concerns and believe in giving back to the community.
From a social media marketing perspective, local food retailers should incorporate popular hashtags that appeal to foodies and to married, female consumers. Examples would be: #buylocal, #localfood, #farmtotable, #homemade. A Google search shows that the terms “local food” and “buy local” reached their peak popularity in the last 12 months during the week of April 12-18, 2020. The target market likely uses Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest more than other social media platforms.
Retailers could also check out and join local Facebook groups as well as food-oriented groups. In the Toronto area, there are many: Ontario Food Entrepreneurs, Local Food, Muslim Foodies of Ontario, Farm to Table, and Friends and Fans of Belleville Farmers Market.
Gourmet food shops, farmer’s markets and on-farm retail outlets are designed to serve a specific niche. They serve a defined group of consumers with a specific interest in local food, which makes it fairly easy to design and direct marketing toward this target group.