Consumer preferences about locally grown foods have been studied principally as they concern meals consumed in the home, while knowledge about consumptions outside the home is still fragmented. Studying the relationship between local foods and out of the home consumptions instead proves particularly interesting, considering the growth of eating out habits. In this scenario, our paper intends to verify whether using products of local origin in restaurants can represent an element capable of influencing consumer preferences positively. The analysis was developed by means of a choice experiment between alternatives that differ in certification of origin, process certification, price and the main characteristics of the restaurant. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of Italian (500) and German (500) consumers. Applying Latent Class Modelling has enabled us to segment the market and profile the segments. Profiling was performed considering the socio-demographic characteristics, the choice motivations not expressly inserted in the choice experiment and the Schwartz value system. The results show not only a marked heterogeneity of preferences but also a consistent consumer segment willing to pay a relevant premium price for meals made from a prevalence of products certified as being of local origin. This segment, labelled 'locavores', appears across both countries, despite differing gastronomic traditions. Locavores are mainly young people who prioritise self-enhancement, stimulation and conservation in the sense of respect for traditions and being members of their communities. The 'Discussions and conclusions' section handles the principal implications from the viewpoint of the decisions of restaurant owners, as well as from that of farmers.
Local foods Restaurant choice Consumer segmentation Latent class Consumer profiling