Participation Type

Paper

Presentation #1 Title

Helping Farmers by Helping Consumers Identify Local Food: The Case of the Appalachian Grown Branding Program

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

As in much of Appalachia, the survival of farms in Western North Carolina is challenged by their small scale, market dynamics, and the uncertainties of historically important crops like tobacco and apples. Previous research identified the high demand for local products in the region as a promising market opportunity for farmers. To take advantage of this opportunity, the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project developed the Appalachian Grown™ regional branding program to identify products from local farms and to protect the integrity of the local market. This study reports on experiments done in three grocery stores designed to develop and test effective messaging and marketing efforts for the Appalachian Grown™ (AG) program. Results indicate that (1) most consumers are familiar with the Appalachian Grown logo but not all use it to find local products; (2) Fresh and local were most common assumptions made about the logo; and (3) Farm name and location were selected as the preferred information when advertising local products. In addition, consumers were willing to pay a premium for locally grown products but the premium varied by store. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of strategies that can be adopted by those working to improve the income of farmers throughout the Appalachian region.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Leah Greden Mathews is Interdisciplinary Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South and Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

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Helping Farmers by Helping Consumers Identify Local Food: The Case of the Appalachian Grown Branding Program

As in much of Appalachia, the survival of farms in Western North Carolina is challenged by their small scale, market dynamics, and the uncertainties of historically important crops like tobacco and apples. Previous research identified the high demand for local products in the region as a promising market opportunity for farmers. To take advantage of this opportunity, the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project developed the Appalachian Grown™ regional branding program to identify products from local farms and to protect the integrity of the local market. This study reports on experiments done in three grocery stores designed to develop and test effective messaging and marketing efforts for the Appalachian Grown™ (AG) program. Results indicate that (1) most consumers are familiar with the Appalachian Grown logo but not all use it to find local products; (2) Fresh and local were most common assumptions made about the logo; and (3) Farm name and location were selected as the preferred information when advertising local products. In addition, consumers were willing to pay a premium for locally grown products but the premium varied by store. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of strategies that can be adopted by those working to improve the income of farmers throughout the Appalachian region.