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Local Trumps it All

“Local trumps organic; organic trumps natural; natural trumps ordinary.” It is a simple rule of thumb but speaks to the premiums grocery retailers can get for food products. During the Canadian Special Crops Association meeting, John Scott of the retail grocery sector talked about trends in consumer responses. This has been fuelled by the customers’ ability to get information about their food. “If it is not offered, they will go get it,” Scott says. Whether on-site with their phone or whether later on the computer, he notes consumers will fill gaps in information that food producers or retailers don’t provide.

He went on to observe some other key trends, including the rise in prepared food offerings in stores. This doesn’t mean food in a can; it means a hot roast chicken and a side of kale salad that is prepared and served that day. It is a new approach to convenience and it is changing the layout of the store. The central aisles of a grocery store with dry goods are under pressure and shrinking as more offerings are being made in produce, cheeses, and hot cooked/prepared food offerings that are the traditional “outer perimeter” of stores.

Robynne Anderson

Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

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