Ethical products in South Africa

Market Research on Customers’ Awareness, Opinion and Understanding of Ethical Labels in South Africa


It is said that ethical products are only designed for Westerners. Is that really true ? The Trade for Development Centre, in partnership with Ask Africa, worked on a market study for know about the popularity of ethical products in South Africa. The purpose of this study is to analyze the attitude of South African population towards ethical products such as Fairtrade, MSC, FCS, etc.

Just over 1700 Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the general South African population in seven metropolitan areas to measure awareness and understanding of ethical labels among consumers as well as their shopping habits as it pertains to Fairtrade, ethical and/or sustainable products.

The study shows that the majority of South Africans are aware of environmental issues and will buy into green initiatives, but only if they offer functional benefits too.Awareness of terms and logos related to ethical or sustainable labels are at quite low levels among these South African consumers, and are generally higher among the White population and people with a higher income.More than half of consumers interviewed are more likely to purchase a product if they see the Fairtrade logo, and a quarter are willing to purchase products with the Fairtrade logo regardless of cost.

It is widely known that the mislabelling of various products is common in South Africa. With this being widespread practice in South Africa and becoming more widely known, the result could be a decline in consumers’ trust, paying less attention and being less aware of certain labels. Accurate information that is widely and easily attainable and understandable could encourage consumers to want to find out more and as a result become more perceptive of the labels.

You will find below the download link to the Executive Summary, the Full Report and the Infographic highlighting some results in a visual way. You can also read the report on ISSUU.