Forager Survey Shows Local Food is One of the Hottest Trends in Grocery, Driven in Part by Covid, Yet Supermarkets Don’t Deliver

October 27, 2020

PORTLAND, ME – October 27, 2020 – Today Forager, a company focused on connecting local farmers with grocers to bring consumers healthy, locally sourced food announced their latest report: State of Local, a survey of 1,000 consumers that identifies the shifts in consumer demand when it comes to how Americans shop for and purchase groceries. Overwhelmingly, consumers feel grocers have an important role to play in supporting local farms and producers (93%) and are disappointed that they choose to buy from industrial giants instead of the suppliers in their own backyard. In fact, as consumer demand has shifted, buying local has become a bigger priority for consumers in 2020, due to both supply and health concerns. 85% of respondents said they would switch grocers or buy more from a grocer that offered more local, fresh healthy food.

Food as medicine, in and out of a pandemic:

COVID-19 has solidified the trend toward healthier food choices, as Americans take stock of their overall health and spend more time cooking at home, and buying local, as people expand where they typically shop based on inventory and availability.

  • 91% of consumers say it is important or very important to feed their family fresh healthy food right now
  • 96% say they feel locally-grown and produced food is the freshest, healthiest and most nutritious food available

Attention supermarkets, the shopper has changed:

While local food is one of the hottest trends in grocery, supermarkets are scrambling to figure it out. Many shoppers have shifted local purchasing to CSA and farms as they have not been able to find the local food they need in-store or online. Shoppers have returned to in-store shopping at supermarkets but, with Covid surging, in-store is expected to decline again. One of the ways to get consumers back into stores is through a robust local food program, as shoppers see their grocery store in a new light and have higher expectations for local and healthy food.

  • 93% of Americans think grocers have an important role to play in supporting local farmers and food producers
  • 75% of people think it is ridiculous or unfair to consumers that grocers buy mostly industrial food instead of fresh healthy local food
  • 76% would prefer that their grocer buy food directly from local farms over third-party distributors
  • 55% are more worried about going to the grocery store due to the surge in new COVID cases and with winter coming

Kale chips over candy:

Nearly one in two Americans is willing to give up their favorite thing, including Covid comfort foods like pizza and chocolate, in exchange for consistent access to local, fresh food at their area grocery store. The top reason cited when it comes to the most challenging thing about sourcing this type of food was finding a grocery who carries enough in terms of supply or variety.

  • 45% of consumers would give up their favorite thing (e.g. chocolate, pizza, soda, etc.) to get top quality local, fresh, healthy food in their grocery store
  • Respondents report the most challenging thing about finding fresh, local healthy food is:
  • 39% - Finding a grocer who carries enough of it or enough variety
  • 16% - Limited hours and availability at Farmers’ Markets
  • 11% - No one near me carries much local fresh food at all
  • 7% - Finding farms/farm stands or a food box subscription
  • 10% - other reason

Why aren’t supermarkets buying from local farmers?

Grocery retailers typically purchase fresh produce from one or two large distributors rather than contracting with a number of local producers, which can seem time-consuming or more expensive. Meanwhile, with the demise of the restaurant business, local farmers now more than ever need to sell to brick and mortar retailers and have plenty of capacity to do so. Forager is already connecting farms to grocers in their communities, helping meet consumer demand for local food while streamlining the supply process.  

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About Forager(Forager1, LLC)

The mission of Forager is to accelerate the growth of the local food economy and make locally sourced food more widely available to all. The company's online and mobile platform digitizes and streamlines the procurement-to-payment process, saving time and costs for grocers, co-ops, farmers, producers, and other buyers and sellers of local food. For more information about Forager, please see, and follow Forager on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.