“Home grown” is taking on a whole new meaning these days. It’s all about health and wellness, sustainability and community.

What it’s not, though, is food picked from the garden in your backyard.

Today, home grown means locally produced products of all kinds. It could be apples, tomatoes, milk, chicken, popcorn or even jelly beans. It’s also often labeled “organic” or “natural”...but it doesn’t have to be.

So why are locally produced foods resonating with consumers today and how can you gain from it? Consumers are gravitating to these foods because of the following “feel good” reasons:
  • They believe that buying “local” means that the product is fresher than one that’s taken days to get to the store. Fresher is generally seen as healthier.
  • They believe that a product that doesn’t have to travel far reduces its carbon footprint (even the packaging matters because it doesn’t have to be as durable or hefty if the product’s not logging the miles). Thus, these products are seen as more sustainable.
  • They believe that buying local helps support their community.
So how can you promote your locally grown product? You can flag it on your label (although that might create a logistics nightmare-you wouldn’t want products sold in Illinois to say “Made right here in Florida!”).

You can also work with your retail customer to promote your locally grown product with signs in the store. Some retailers have already hopped on board this bus; others have taken the wheel. Giant Food Stores, for example, has specially designed racks in all its stores in Pennsylvania that display and promote products produced in the state.

One caveat: Promoting local products works better if you are visible in your community. Widen that circle and you might be able to produce more than just products. You might be able to produce sales.