We conducted two qualitative surveys to identify whether food miles, defined as the distance that foodstuff travels between the production location and the consumption marketplace, matter for French consumers. First, two focus groups with ‘conventional’ consumers show that distance is a multidimensional concept, both positively and negatively perceived, and that most consumers are not concerned by food miles and their subsequent environmental impact. Second, 10 face-to-face interviews with consumers of locally grown organic food demonstrate that these consumers purchase local food for other reasons than reducing ‘food miles’ and buy imported organic food in spite of increased food miles. We shed light on this situation using theoretical concepts from economics and psychology. Some implications for policymakers and marketers are stressed.
Do consumers care about food miles? An empirical analysis in France
14 January 2014