Purpose – This study aims to investigate how attributes associated with local food (intrinsic product quality; local support) motivate purchase behaviour. Previous research assumes heterogeneity in consumer motivation, but this has never been formally assessed. As such, the influence of local food attributes in motivating product use is integrated into a model in which consumer values and personal characteristics/situational variables are specified as moderators. Design/methodology/approach – Eight hypotheses are tested using data collected from a quota sample of respondents recruited via an online panel of 1,223 shoppers. A three-stage analysis is used using structural equation modelling. Moderation effects are tested using both latent interactions and multiple-group analysis. Findings – Shoppers purchase local food more frequently as a consequence of local support rather than intrinsic product quality. Unpicking these relationships reveal that local support has an amplified effect when local identity is higher, and when the shopper is either female or of an older age (55 years plus). Surprisingly, the influence of intrinsic product quality is equivalent by gender, age and location (rural/urban). Practical implications – Marketers promoting locally produced foods should focus on both the intrinsic attributes of local food as well as the role it plays within the local community. The latter is more likely to be successful with communications aimed at women and older consumers. Originality/value – With previous studies focusing on how local food attributes influence favourable consumer behaviours, the current study unpicks these relationships by examining heterogeneity in responses. This is the first study to concurrently use attributes, values and personal characteristics/situational variables in explaining shopping behaviour for local food.