How Important Is Local Sustainable Food to Diners?

The local sustainable food movement has indubitably affected the consciousness of American consumers. But just how willing are they to pay more for local and organic menu items when it comes to dining out? Recent studies argue that it’s not as much as the sustainable food movement would like us to believe.

Survey Findings Concerning Sustainable Foods

According to Mintel’s recent press release on a survey of food sustainability on November 14, 2011, over 57% of consumers will pay more for local and sustainable fare. As the restaurant industry’s profit becomes increasingly affected by the green initiative, many of us may breathe a sigh of relief…but not so fast!

Even though these figures may prove to be hopeful, the majority of consumers don’t want to pay more than one to five percent more for sustainable foods. It also turns out that this is a minor detail when consumers decide on a place to eat. So, what do consumers base their decisions on?

  • 74% say menu selection
  • 69% say pricing
  • 67% say location

Sadly, only seven percent are looking for sustainable food when they make their decision; however, the West Coast scored proportionately higher in the survey (11%) compared to the Midwest (4%) and Northeast (7%) when it came to sustainable foods.

Furthermore, the survey suggests that when it comes to concern regarding consumer’s social responsibility, sustainable food is still trumped by pressing issues like living wages paid to employees and medical insurance.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Local and Sustainable Foods in Restaurants?

Many restaurants will find that offering sustainable food will be an added feature that sets them apart from the crowd. As the sustainable food movement grows, this initiative is expected to gain traction and becoming more of a decision-maker.

 

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