’Local’ and ‘organic’ has a jumble of meanings to consumers

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Recent research among consumers in Canada and the U.S. helped identify perceptions about the terms "local" and "organic." An online survey of 2,511 consumers revealed communications challenges and opportunities such as:

•23% of the total sample incorrectly perceived "local" as having been produced organically (locally).

•17% perceived "local" as involving no use of synthetic pesticides.

•20% perceived "local" as involving less pesticide residue on product.

•21% perceived "local" as involving natural fertilizer used.

•17% incorrectly associated "organic" with being produced locally.

•Some perceptions of Canadian and U.S. consumers differed substantially, especially with regard to "local."

"Sadly, 'local' and 'organic' have had the misfortune of entering our vocabulary as separate concepts and then getting jumbled into one, unclear concept." Researchers suggested adding education throughout the marketing process to help plant producers clarify and correct terminology for all consumers.

You can read the research report here.

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