Marketing on local markets
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Local food systems imply a smaller number of actors involved in the processes
of production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste disposal, as
compared to traditional systems. Furthermore, distances, both in space and time, are consistently reduced. Hence, the concepts of ‘short’ food supply chains and of food supply chains of ‘proximity’, the latter referring to defined geographical boundaries or, more generally, to a limited distance travelled by products between the place of production and the place of consumption.
Local food systems and marketing mechanisms of proximity are generally
developed with a view to bringing benefits to those involved, such as greater
interaction and mutual understanding between consumers and producers;
increased access for consumers to fresh, seasonal produce; clearer traceability of produce origin; values of identity and social responsibility; increased viability of rural area economies; presence of ‘quality designations’; or valorisation of local assets such as landscapes, territory, or biodiversity.
Notwithstanding some research-based evidence on the positive effects of local
food systems, these systems are still not equated to higher quality of products, environmental benefits and increased food security.
This report reviews the initiatives undertaken throughout the European Union
(EU) for the establishment or development of local food systems, characterised
either by a closer relationship between producers and consumers, or by
proximity. Emphasis has been placed on those initiatives implemented at the
local and regional level and on the role played by local and regional authorities (LRAs). The aim of the review is to identify the main categories of intervention by LRAs and the tools for implementation, as well as to draw conclusions about how these interventions may be further supported with a view to a more effective development of marketing initiatives on local markets.