05/27/22 - (Pictures & Source © lid.ch Mediendienst No. 3578)
Regional foods are more than a trend. As a new study shows, consumers even prefer regional products to organic food.
By Jonas Ingold
Everyone likes regional products: This is shown by the " Regional Products 2022 " study, which was carried out by htp St. Gallen and the market research institute Link in cooperation with the Zurich School of Economics. According to this, 37% of those surveyed rate regional products as very positive, 57% as positive and 5% as neutral. Nobody showed a negative attitude towards regional products. Compared to the 2017 survey, the values have increased, particularly among those with a very positive attitude.
And the consumers not only seem to like the products, but also to buy them. 40% stated that they buy regional products practically with every purchase. And three quarters buy regional products at least weekly. In particular, the number of heavy users – those who look at regional production with every purchase – has increased by 14 percentage points within the last 5 years.
For the representative study, 1,321 people between the ages of 15 and 79 from German-speaking Switzerland, western Switzerland and Ticino were interviewed.
Heavy users are predominantly older people from 60 to 79. In this age range, the proportion of heavy users is 54%. Young people reach for the regional shelves less often: 29% of the 15 to 29 year olds are heavy users. But that has nothing to do with attitude: according to the study, young people appreciate regional products just as much as older people. The authors of the study therefore assume that factors such as purchasing power or shopping and consumption habits are decisive.
It will be difficult to allocate a market share to regional products. According to the Association for Regional Products (VSR), it is 7.2%. However, the authors of the study emphasize that there is no universal definition of regional products. They assume that consumers perceive many products that are not certified according to the VSR criteria as regional. The market share data would therefore tend to be underestimated.
Mostly from the retail trade Consumers usually buy products from the region in the retail trade. But the proportion of those who buy from small dealers or farm shops is also increasing. Among the retailers, the interviewees associate Migros most strongly with regionality. Ex aequo Coop, Volg and the Landi shops came in second. Those surveyed associate Lidl, Aldi and Denner significantly less with regionality.
Another part of the survey shows that the term "regional product" is not perceived uniformly. For some, it's products that come from their own region. For the others, they are basically regional specialty products, even if they come from another region. And for more than half of those surveyed, both criteria fit.
Regional products are preferred by the majority to organic products, according to another conclusion of the authors. When asked what they buy more often, 42% answered with regional products. 39% buy both about the same amount of times, 16% buy organic products more often. There are differences in income: Households with a monthly income of over 10,000.00 buy organic products disproportionately often. And people from the country often choose regional products, while those from the city disproportionately often choose organic.
The survey shows that regional products raise similar expectations to organic products when it comes to ecological criteria - even if regional products do not necessarily have to be produced accordingly. The areas “sustainability and fairness” as well as “social” connect the respondents much more frequentlyr with regional products than with organic.
Personal responsibility has by far the greatest influence on the intention to buy regional products. As a result, people buy the products out of personal respect for their environment and society.
Would you pay more? According to the Link study, people are willing to dig deeper into their wallets for regional products. They would therefore be willing to pay 45% more for eggs than for "normal" Swiss origin, 29% for carrots, 20% for hard cheese and 10% for cervelat.