In recent months, several U.S. distribution chains in the U.S. have become aware that consumers are increasingly looking for products that are guaranteed of local origin
. Several converging reasons have led to this:
- Some see it as a means of defending regional employment;
- Others see it as a guarantee of authenticity (taste, traditional recipes, handcrafted, products that respect the cycle of the seasons...)
- While others see it as a means of reducing the carbon footprint of the product.
It is for these consumers - called "locavores"
– that several initiatives have been taken recently:
- Weis Markets, a chain of 154 supermarkets on the East Coast, launched a campaign entitled: "Local and Proud of It”. Wishing to promote the almost 10,000 tonnes of products purchased from 150 regional producers, the brand highlights the fact that 20% of its fresh produce is purchased locally.
- Spartan Stores, a group of 99 supermarkets in the Midwest, promotes 2400 fresh and grocery products produced in Michigan by 42 local suppliers (including Yoplait and Kellogg): "Michigan's Best". The retailer maintains that 10% of the products it sells are produced locally – as against 20% of their private label products.
- The most interesting initiative comes from Meijer which has recently repositioned its premium private label, Meijer Gold, with the slogan "Unique Foods from Unique Places". It is built around 3 main themes: "produced locally" / "family recipes" / "local specialties". Here we find the themes already employed by French private labels such as “Nos Régions ont du Talent” ("Our regions have Talent") from Leclerc or "Reflets de France" (“Reflections of France”) from Carrefour. However Meijer innovates by highlighting producers who are either local or "family owned" - like Whole Foods Market already does.
Thus a growing number of retailers seek to equip themselves with new key factors for success – other than the price factor. Highlighting the origin of their products and the links it creates with the regional production network, in my view, is a way to progress in the future.