Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy A. Woods


Measures of legitimacy have been described in terms of four legitimacy types, regulatory, normative, cognitive, and industry. This study provides one of the first and only empirical examinations of legitimacy, particularly with an application to local foods and sheds light on how consumers view various types of legitimacy related to local food. To apply the concept of legitimacy to local foods marketing, we take an empirical survey asking about consumer perspectives of local food, along with different shopping behavior questions.

Using cumulative logit models, results of the legitimacy models suggest that core consumers are more likely to place a high value on the most of the legitimacy measures such as certifications, freshness and quality, environmentally friendly practices and direct purchase from the producers. The value that the core and to some extent the mid-level consumers place on different legitimacy measures have important implications for the marketing, merchandising, and product positioning by marketers, grocers, and retailers that are selling products with local characteristics. Implications and marketing recommendations are given based on the findings.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)