Some while back I contributed an article to StartupNation titled Revenge of the Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker detailing the multitude of opportunities available within the "buy local" niche.
Now the New York Times has picked up on theme as well. In an article published this week, the Times puts its formidable resources behind a rather in-depth examination of the economics of the "buy local" phenomenon, and holes in the infrastructure preventing supply from coming together with demand — demand that is increasing by double-digits even while the rest of the economy cools down. One grocery store chain quoted in the article stated that sales of local produce have increased 20% in the past year. This, in the midst of the worst food price inflation the US has seen in decades.
There`s huge opportunity here folks. If this is the kind of growth the "buy local" niche is experiencing now, given the difficulties the economy is visiting upon both consumers and small businesses, imagine what will happen when people aren`t feeling pinched by fuel prices anymore.
The "buy local" supply chain is virtually nonexistent at this point. It was destroyed all through the 80s and 90s by consolidation in the food industry that centralized its operations in California and overseas. The whole infrastructure from farmer`s field to grocery store shelf needs to be rebuilt, and this NYT article details where some of the most sorely needed entrepreneurial opportunities are waiting, desperately, for people to step in. If you`re fishing around for a business idea, something that can start growing quickly now in a difficult economy and keep growing into the future, you will be hard-pressed to find a better choice than filling some of these local supply chain holes.