Nearly a third of shoppers say they have specifically purchased locally produced food over the last month, double the number in 2006, according to new consumer research released by food and grocery analysts IGD.

Support for ethically produced foods in general has withstood the pressures of an 18-month recession and is in fact growing, despite the tough economic conditions.

When asked about food they have specifically purchased over the last month, shoppers responded:

• 30 percent said locally produced food (up from 15 percent in 2006)
• 27 percent Fairtrade products (up from 9 percent)
• 18 percent products with high animal welfare standards (up from 11 percent)
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: "These figures prove what we have been saying throughout the recession – shoppers are looking for both value and values. They are not simply looking for cheaper food in tough times, they also expect the grocery industry to support their moral and ethical values."

Drilling down into reasons for supporting local food in particular, most said that it was fresher, but the biggest riser over the last few years has been support for the local economy:

• 57 percent said they purchased local food because it has not travelled as far and is therefore fresher
• 54 percent wanted to support local producers and farmers (up from 28 percent in 2006)
• 34 percent wanted to support local retailers (18 percent in 2006)
• 29 percent wanted to keep jobs in the local area (up from 14 percent)

IGD also asked shoppers what improvements they would like to see to their food and grocery shopping experience. Once again, support for locally produced food was up, with 31 percent saying they would like more local products available to them, compared with 12 percent in 2005. One in five (20 percent) would like a farmers’ market or farm shop to be established nearby, up from 15 percent in 2005.