Do South African Consumers have an Appetite for an Origin-based Certification System for Meat Products? A Synthesis of Studies on Perceptions, Preferences and Experiments

Johann F. Kirsten, Hes Vermeulen, Karlien van Zyl, Gerrie du Rand, Henrietta du Plessis, Tessa Weissnar


The introduction of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) type certification schemes in countries outside Europe is a recent phenomenon as the philosophy of origin based foods obtains global traction. It is therefore interesting to understand whether consumers in these countries have a similar appreciation for these certification schemes and whether they are willing to pay a premium if the origin of the product is guaranteed. The Karoo Lamb case in South Africa provides an ideal opportunity to explore this question. At the same time the paper illustrates that the results and interpretation of consumer studies are sensitive to the methodology applied. We illustrate this argument by benefitting from a range of consumer studies that was undertaken over a period of five years in order to understand the South African consumers’ perceptions about the Karoo region and their preferences and willingness to pay for the meat product from the Karoo. The studies which we compare and synthesise in this paper used different techniques such as perception analysis; stated preference methods (through a conjoint analysis); and a range of revealed preference methods including, an experimental auction and a retail store experiment. In essence the paper synthesises and compares the results from the different studies and illustrates how different techniques bring different results and conclusions. We then try to establish whether there is consistency in the results across methods to help us getting to a conclusive position on the consumer value of this product. From these results we are able – in a more comprehensive way - to tell whether PDO-type products are likely to be of value to South African consumers.


Origin based foods; Consumer preferences and perceptions; willingness to pay; Karoo Lamb

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ISSN 1869-6945


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