More South Africans demand food industry compliance with animal welfare standards

Animal cruelty awareness drives South Africans to demand higher animal welfare standards. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Animal cruelty awareness drives South Africans to demand higher animal welfare standards. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 20, 2024


A recent study by the NSF, a global organisation for public health and safety, has revealed that the majority of South Africans are calling for animal wellness, transparency and compliance in the food industry for the well-being of animals, including the crucial role of third-party certification.

The study showed that 84% of consumers deem animal wellness extremely important, and 76% of them buy expensive products certified for animal wellness, highlighting the value placed on ethical standards and trust in third-party certifications such as those provided by NSF.

The numbers emphasise the growing consciousness among consumers towards compliance from businesses in the food industry to adhere to animal welfare.

“The results of our research clearly show that animal wellness is not just a trend, but a fundamental concern among South African consumers. There is a strong call to action for companies in the food industry to demonstrate commitment and transparency in their animal welfare practices,” said Dr Elaina Vanier, a vet and animal wellness programme lead for NSF.

The study further revealed that 87% of consumers said it’s imperative that companies comply with animal wellness throughout their supply chain, and 80%, especially between the 18 to 29 age group, declared they are more likely to purchase products that are certified for animal wellness by a third party.

“Consumers are making it clear that they are more likely to support brands that not only talk about animal wellness, but also take tangible steps to ensure it across their operations. Animal wellness is about doing the right thing for the animal,” she said.

Moreover, the report stated, 86% of consumers expect animal products sold by international brands to comply with the standards of animal welfare, while 7% said they are unwilling to buy expensive products certified for animal wellness.

“An overwhelming portion of consumers in South Africa are aware that ensuring the well-being of animals comes with a higher cost. This reflects a deep-seated ethical commitment among South African shoppers and their readiness to make choices that are both ethical, and sustainable,” said Wouter Conradie, director of Supply Chain, Europe & Africa, from NSF.

Although the study highlighted the importance of animal welfare, only three in 10 are informed of animal well-being standards in the country. This is an urgent call for awareness and education of animal wellness.

Thus, NSF encourages retailers, food manufacturers and brands to acquire independent animal wellness certifications, such as NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards (GAWS) to deliver on the promise of animal welfare, which benefits all parties involved by offering sustainable advantages, such as reduced antibiotics, improved feed efficiency, higher yields and better product grading.

The Star