Health & Wellness 2020 - Consumers & Nutrition Professionals
PORTLAND, Maine, Jan. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As we embark on another round of New Year's resolutions, healthy eating is top of mind for consumers. For most people, that means adding more fruits and vegetables to their daily diet. A new survey from Forager shows that increasingly, consumers are looking for the freshest produce with the lowest carbon footprint - and that means local. An infographic with top-line survey results can be downloaded at https://goforager.com/winter2020survey.
For consumers seeking fruits and vegetables that pack the most punch nutritionally, local fits the bill, notes dietitian Lauren Parsly, MPH, RD, LDN, Tufts Medical Center: "The overall quality and variety of nutrients may be better in locally-sourced produce, which, since it doesn't need to travel long distances, can be picked at its peak ripeness. Local, independent farms tend to use agricultural methods that result in better soil quality than conventional farming. Better quality leads to better taste, a real motivator for keeping up an increased level of fruit and vegetables in our daily diets."
Parsly sees a strong tie between healthy eating and a healthy planet, saying: "There is a wide-ranging trend towards consuming fewer processed foods and increasing fresh food intake. Not only are there cardiovascular benefits to plant-based eating but there are sustainability benefits as well. Many local and small farmers practice sustainable and organic farming methods that reduce exposure to pesticides."
Forager, whose digital procurement platform connects local farmers with grocers to bring consumers locally grown food, asked consumers what they saw as the top benefits of going local - and whether they'd change their buying habits if it meant better access to local produce.
The survey found that local food is ticking off all the boxes for healthy living in 2020. Respondents identified their top two food-related goals for 2020 as "eating healthier" (86%) and nearly a third identified "eating more sustainably and reducing my carbon footprint."
The benefits of eating local are myriad, notes Parsly: "Local food builds a more intimate relationship with the food you eat. We've lost sight of how good food is for us, how it is our source of energy and fuel for our body. If more people understood where their food comes from and how it was cultivated there would be a deeper appreciation, a more mindful approach to what they eat."
Grocers, take note - 73% of respondents were either "somewhat" or "not" satisfied with the quality and availability of local food at their regular grocery store. No surprise then that 80% stated they are likely to change where they shop, if more local food were to be made available at a different grocery store and year-round. In an era of cutting-edge greenhouse technology, obtaining produce in winter should no longer be a barrier to grocers meeting demand; 93% of respondents state they'd be likely to buy more local food if more was available at stores during the winter months. And over three-quarters of respondents would be willing to pay up to 20% more for local food.
"Rosemont sources from a vast array of small farmers and producers across Maine. Our local producers, and our relationships with them are the heart and soul of our company. Customers know that these relationships provide them with the freshest, best food year-round. While individual products may come in and out of style, fresh and local is always in," said John Schreiber, Head of Purchasing, Rosemont Market and Bakery "Forager is an important partner is maintaining our relationship with producers. By removing the friction of invoicing and billing, we have more time to focus on what matters."
More than 100,000 local products have now been sourced through Forager according to David D. Stone the company's Founder and Chairman. "We've witnessed explosive growth these last two years, more than quintupling our volumes and are now working with nearly 30 independent grocers across the country who see the value of Forager for efficiency gains, access to new farms and increases in local sourcing". For more information about the Forager digital procurement platform and how to help grow the local food economy, please visit goforager.com.
About Forager™ (Forager1, LLC)
The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company's online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see goforager.com, and follow Forager on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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