Ethical products in South Africa

Market research on customers’ awareness, opinion and understanding of ethical labels in South Africa


The Trade for Development Centre and Ask Africa worked together on a market study to look into the popularity of ethical products in South Africa. The purpose of this study is to analyse the attitude of South Africans towards ethical products, certified Fairtrade, MSC, FCS, etc.

Over 1700 face-to-face interviews were conducted in seven metropolitan areas to measure the awareness and understanding of ethical labels among consumers as well as their shopping habits with regard to Fairtrade, ethical and/or sustainable products.

The study shows that the majority of South Africans are aware of environmental issues and are willing to buy green initiatives as long as they have functional benefits as well. General knowledge on ethical or sustainable labels is relatively low among South African consumers. More than 50% are more likely to purchase a product if it carries a Fairtrade logo, 25% even regardless of cost. It is widely known that mislabelling various products is common in South Africa. This could result in 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 find out more and thus become more perceptive of the labels.

  • Download the Executive Summary, the Full Report and the Infographic, highlighting some of the results in a visual way.