The truth about ‘local’ food in US supermarkets: ‘It’s a marketing gimmick’


Good article. Not a big surprise to me or probably many other HOs. HEB, parent of Central Market which was mentioned, and other chains here seem to think anything grown, packed, or marketed by a company anywhere in Texas counts as local :grin:. And there are the HEB ads showing fishermen hauling in a catch somewhere in the Gulf with the line “This is the seafood department of your neighborhood HEB.”

I suspect customers understanding of how local is “local” might depend on where in the world you are. Like the Guardian, I live on this small cold island off the coast of Europe. It’s a bit smaller than Oregon. A place where my normal supermarket labels, say, vegetables, with the name and county of the grower. On the other hand, an American lives in vast country, with diverse climates.

I largely buy from a locally owned grocery chain who post thr name of the farm…do yeah probably really local.

I also belong to a FB group that was set up to conenxt family farms with consumers, so there’s that

In other news, scientists have confirmed that water is, indeed, wet.

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My supermarket, Sainsbury, is a national chain (I think still the UK’s second largest). I’m always impressed when I see the tomatoes come from a farmer called Robinson. Robinson’s is literally a short walk from our supermarket and was actually the first place my Spanish brother in law worked when he came to the UK, picking tomatoes. I doubt anything gets more local.


I don’t know just how local the produce designated as such at our Wegmans is, but it’s generally anything grown in a radius of less than 400 miles.

Since we have an abundance of farmers markets nearby, I can get pretty local stuff outside of what supermarkets have to offer. I’m also not obsessed about the local part, bc nobody here grows pineapples or avocados :wink:


I live in a vast country, as well. Stores have a local section, with products made in the province. The aisle is mostly focused on maple syrup, jams, dried beans, pickles, condiments and cookies.

Local corn, local tomatoes, locally produced eggs, chicken and meat, are marked as local.

My indie butcher shops lists the farms where the lamb , pork, beef and chicken are sourced.


Pretty sure this is all local (8 miles down the hill from me). (c;


See also: natural, cage-free, etc.

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And “organic.”

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Also that!

The equivalent of ‘organic’ in Germany is ‘bio,’ however, it actually means something.

I got yelled at the meat counter in a bio-supermarket for inquiring about the cattle, and whether it was free-range, humanely raised. Of course, instead of taking pride in their product I got lectured for asking such a dumb question.

So, what is a mere marketing term stateside is an actual certification with many, many laws & regulations over there. Because of course it is :slight_smile:

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Well, organic means something. Just not what most people think it means.


I’m lucky to live in an area of the US that provides a lot of produce to vast swaths of the country, so I have always assumed that if I buy produce that is in season, it’s likely to be local. I also patronize a couple local farmers’ markets (REAL farmers, not just those vendors who pick up their stuff at the wholesale produce market) as much as I can. And the strawberries and cherries we buy are grown in the orchards/fields adjacent to the stands.


This is how our local chain labels many items

There are also publications in many areas that highlight local businesses related to food; I’ve seen more than one around here, highlighting counties and areas in Northern California. Like this

And this


Of course, this is a big country, and I still find it hard to embrace the concept of it being just one thing.

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California? Me too. Even Driscoll’s is technically local, since Watsonville isn’t all that far from us.

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Thank you for posting this interesting article.

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