Despite a number of studies investigating consumer food purchase behaviour, few studies actually address the nature of the rural consumer. This may have implications for the generalization of much research on food purchase behaviour, as official estimates of the UK rural population vary between 8.5% and 24%. This paper compares and contrasts the food shopping behaviour of customers in rural and urban areas in Scotland. Particular focus is given on respondent characteristics, attitudes towards rural and urban locations, distance travelled for food shopping purposes and store patronage. Results from the research emphasize the notion that rural and urban retailing should be conceptualized as a continuum rather than being regarded as dichotomous, and a conceptual framework is proposed.