An Examination of Opportunities and Constraints of Marketing Local Foods in Tennessee

Blessing Chimezie Ajumobi, Tennessee State University


In recent years, the demand for food produced in the same locality it is distributed has increased. The major driving factor is the increase in consumer demand for food with better quality. Consumer’ preference for less processed food naturally creates an opportunity to produce and market high-quality food to satisfy demand. The logistics breakdown in the agricultural sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and food shortage shows that researchers have widely neglected adequate and comprehensive research on the local food marketing system. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the performance of existing farm-to-consumer marketing efforts, better understand the potential expansion of the market, and identify barriers preventing producers from utilizing existing marketing channels. Primary data (Direct information from producers) was collected to test the assumption that there are marketing opportunities for local food in Tennessee. The research analyzed primary data collected from local food producers via an online survey to examine the options found in the production and marketing of local food in Tennessee. The focus was on marketing local food directly to consumers and retailers through various marketing channels. The research considered the factors (challenges and opportunities) that encourage or discourage producers in the marketing of local foods. There were 56 actual respondents between April and August 2021 to the survey. The analyzed collected data demonstrated factors that affect the choice of selected marketing channels by producers. The results of the statistical analysis of nine marketing channels in the study demonstrated how the demographical variables (age, education, etc.) impact the choice of each marketing channel. One or more of a farmer's demographical variables significantly impact tested markets. The two most impacted markets are the farmers' market and the direct-2-restaurant market. The most significant challenge that farmers encounter is the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and a lack of funds to either start a new business or expand an existing business. The most significant opportunity in marketing local food in Tennessee is the increasing demand for local food.Improved understanding of Tennessee's local food marketing system will continually help local food producers increase production efficiencies with better marketing strategies.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics|Agriculture|Marketing

Recommended Citation

Blessing Chimezie Ajumobi, "An Examination of Opportunities and Constraints of Marketing Local Foods in Tennessee" (2021). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28777060.