by Erik Sherman
If you've noticed an increasing number of signs at the grocery store touting local produce and meat, don't be surprised. Retailers are trying to ride a hot business trend.
There's just one little problem: The vast majority of food isn't produced locally to where it's sold. The more consumers that want to buy local, the bigger a problem most retailers will have satisfying them.
According to a recent report supplied to CBS MoneyWatch by management consultancy A.T. Kearney, the local food movement was a $12 billion market in the U.S. in 2014 and is expected to grow at 9 percent a year through at least 2018. It's not just groceries and restaurants, either: 4,322 school districts have programs to buy food directly from farms, four times as many as in 2006. Seventy-eight percent of consumers are willing to pay 10 percent or more for local products.
But as the Kearney survey of 1,500 consumers shows, the definition of local has been changing, at least in consumers' minds. Ninety-six percent say local means within 100 miles of where they shop. In 2014, 58 percent agreed to that definition, with most saying 400 miles was close enough.
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Source: CBS MoneyWatch