KELSO, Wash. – Pacific Northwest consumers strongly prefer locally-grown foods, with 92% stating it is important to buy foods "Grown in the Pacific Northwest." So claims a new survey of 1,000 Oregon and Washington consumers conducted by NSON Opinion Strategy and commissioned by Foster Farms.

This total compares to the national average of just 26% of US consumers indicating they "often" or "always" purchase fresh, locally-grown foods in a 2010 survey by Yale and George Mason universities.

Regarding this most recent survey, more than one-third of Oregon and Washington consumers are more intensely devoted to local foods now as compared to last year, with the most important of these foods being poultry (81%), second only to milk (84%), the Foster Farms survey reveals.

"The majority of shoppers are unaware that some so-called 'fresh' foods, including poultry, could take more than four days to reach grocery store shelves and are often from out of state,” said Ira Brill, director of marketing for Foster Farms. “In fact, we learned from the survey nearly half of respondents said they would refuse to buy fresh poultry if they knew it took longer than 48 hours to be delivered to their store."

Other survey findings include:

  • More than 80% of PNW consumers believe they’re different from consumers elsewhere in the US because they prefer local foods (86%), are more conscious of environment/farm practices (81%) and are connected to local farms (81%).
  • PNW survey respondents believe freshness (92%), independent family farms that care (89%), higher quality (75%), healthier (75%) and greater variety (50%) distinguish PNW-grown foods from the rest.
  • More than 60% of PNW consumers feel the PNW has a larger bounty/more fresh, locally-grown foods than other parts of the US and believe locally-grown foods are higher quality, better tasting and healthier than foods grown outside their geographic area.

Foster Farms said one-third of survey respondents were unaware of, and more than half responded negatively to, the fact almost 50% of fresh chicken sold in grocery stores is shipped from states outside Oregon and Washington – and even as far away as the South. More than 43% of respondents claimed they would not buy fresh poultry if they knew it took longer than 48 hours to be delivered to their store.

Approximately 60% of consumers said they would spend up to one day per week to preparing and eating only PNW-grown foods.