Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Purchasing Local Foods in the Iowa Hotel Industry
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The purpose of this study was to explore hotel industry decision makers' perceptions of benefits and challenges of purchasing locally produced foods in a Midwestern state. The Theory of Planned Behavior provided the theoretical framework for this study. Interviews were conducted with four full service and limited service hotels in Iowa. Mailed questionnaires were sent to 209 full service and limited service hotels in five Iowa counties which had active local food initiatives. Results showed that Perceived Behavior Control influenced decision makers' Behavioral Intention, while there were not statistically significant influences of Attitudes and Subjective Norms on Behavioral Intention. Purchasing local foods were perceived as beneficial to the businesses, but decision makers experienced challenges such as, lack of information, budget constraints, inconsistent quality, and lack of established refund policies when purchasing local foods. This study provided insights into the needs of the hotel industry and addressing those needs will open new markets for local food producers.