How ‘locavore’ became a word

How ‘locavore’ became a word

Today, we wanted to tell you the story of how a new word entered into the conversation about food.

What’s the word?

It’s locavore.

In his 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, food journalist and author Michael Pollan argued that people should know where their food comes from – and that individuals should make an effort to eat locally sourced food products.

Not long later, chef and author Jessica Prentice coined the term ‘locavore’ – using it to refer to people who eat locally, and care about knowing how and where their food is produced.

Then in 2007, locavore was chosen as the New Oxford American Dictionary word of the year.

It’s a word for a movement

More than just a word, locavore is the name for a movement: a new wave of consumers who believe it’s important to know the origins of their food, and who care about supporting local food systems.

From the perspective of locavores, the benefits of this movement include…

  • Improved health. Locally sourced foods might be fresher and sometimes have a higher nutritional value than foods that have been transported long distances, with locavores citing a correlation between local food and good health.
  • Supporting local economies and farmers. Buying locally means directing more money back into local economies, and strengthening regional food production systems.
  • A lower carbon footprint. Food that’s produced and consumed in the same locality has a lower carbon footprint – and individuals also lower their own carbon footprint by buying local.
  • Eating tastier food. Locavores argue that locally sourced foods are often fresher and tastier than products that have been stored and transported over long distances.

Of course, some of these points are arguable – and as food technology develops, F&B businesses are constantly improving their capacity to store and transport food while maintaining freshness, taste, and nutritional value.

But stats show that local food is growing in popularity:

Research in 2022 by YouGov shows that on average, three in five consumers around the world say they prefer purchasing food from their own country.

Of the 18 markets surveyed, consumers in Italy showed the strongest preferences for local food (74%), followed by Sweden (71%), France (67%), and Spain (67%).

Consumers in Denmark and Great Britain were the least likely to prefer buying locally produced food, at 57% and 54% respectively.

What does the emergence of the locavore movement tell us?

The YouGov study also found that there’s a link between preferring local food and caring about climate change.

Survey respondents who expressed concern about global warming and carbon emissions were more likely to also express a preference for local food.

This suggests, then, that the consumer trend towards local food isn’t just a passing fad. As more people face the realities of climate change, there’s growing demand for produce that has a lower environmental impact – and locally sourced food answers some of that demand.

The true environmental benefits of local vs. imported food is a topic of ongoing debate. But for F&B businesses, consumer trends matter: and businesses that enable the production and distribution of more local food are well placed to tap into demand from locally-minded consumers.

There is just over a week to go until InFlavour 2023, have you registered for this year's event?

See you next week!

Share on


Take your seat at the InFlavour table, a government-backed and world-leading B2B food event by Tahaluf.

E-mail address Submit
Sign up

Want to keep up to date with all our latest news and information? Enter your name below to be added to our mailing list.

E-mail address Submit