, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 365-378
Date: 16 Oct 2012

Commercial bakers and the relocalization of wheat in western Washington State

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Interest is growing in the relocalization of staple crops, including wheat, in western Washington (WWA), a nontraditional wheat-growing area. Commercial bakers are potentially important food chain intermediaries in the case of relocalized wheat production. We conducted a mail survey of commercial bakers in WWA to assess their interest in sourcing wheat/flour from WWA, identify the characteristics of bakeries most likely to purchase wheat/flour from WWA, understand the factors important to bakers in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour, and identify perceived barriers to making such purchases. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents were interested in purchasing WWA wheat/flour. Bakers who used retail strategies to market their products were more likely to be interested in WWA wheat/flour compared to those not using retail methods. Bakers’ current purchases of Washington wheat/flour were not related to their interest in purchasing WWA flour. The most important factors bakers would consider in purchasing regionally produced wheat/flour were consistency of flour quality, quality of flour, and reliability of supply. Cost was the most frequently mentioned barrier to the purchase of regionally produced wheat/flour. Our results are relevant for other areas attempting to reconnect grain producers, commercial bakers, and consumers in mutually beneficial ways.