Localism will show high relevancy after COVID-19 pandemic has subsided

Prior to COVID-19, locally-sourced products were closely associated with a high quality calibre for a number of consumers worldwide. However, over the course of 2020, the term “local” has evolved to encompass much more. Amplified concerns regarding sustainability and familiarity has put local products in the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers question the authenticity of products and the provenance of ingredients, writes GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Localism – TrendSights Analysis 2020’, 50% of consumers globally associated locally-sourced food/drink products with high quality before the COVID-19 pandemic. Simultaneously, government bodies and brands were already recognizing the potential for the localism trend before the pandemic, through sustainable and traceable production strategies.

Ramsey Baghdadi, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Brand and government commitments to become more sustainable by 2030, along with rising community ambassadors such as Greta Thunberg to support waste reduction, has triggered interest from consumers for locally-sourced products, mainly due to a smaller carbon footprint.

“Shortly before lockdown conditions were put in place, political bodies such as the European Commission were looking into solutions to ensure consumer trust over products in terms of packaging safety, source and product claims.”

Consumer attitude has changed during the pandemic in terms of consumer perceptions, as over 50% of respondents interviewed during lockdown claimed that they found locally-sourced ingredients more important than before the outbreak, according to GlobalData. Furthermore, 76% of consumers in 11 countries considered locally imported products completely/somewhat trustworthy. This not only shows the significance that local ingredients have in terms of consumer perceptions at the time of the pandemic, but also the long-term implications for localization and the opportunities it holds for manufacturers.

Baghdadi adds: “Increased interaction with local convenience stores from consumers occurred during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic due to movement restrictions and boarder closures. The modifications of consumer habits led to drastic changes in long-term product perceptions.

“Despite easing lockdown conditions, this trend shows a long-term significance as many consumers continue to positively associate local products with a high level of quality, trust and familiarity. Local products are here to stay.”

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