Research focus at Consumer Sciences: CON-WELL

CON-WELL focuses on enhancing consumer interests and well-being in South Africa. The diversity of the South African consumer population and the functioning of these consumers in an emerging economy motivate research that aims to ensure their well-being with respect to products and services. We address the well-being and interests of consumers by empowering them to make informed decisions as conscious consumers in a unique multicultural environment. Research in this project is undertaken from a consumer perspective with consumer behaviour as the keystone of all research.



The aim of CON-WELL is to assist consumers to effectively and optimally make decisions to become responsible, conscious consumers.

 Consumer behaviour research serves as a means to reach the above aim. We pursue the following outcomes:

  • Optimising available resources by assisting consumers to employ suitable coping and decision-making strategies.
  • Allowing them to become conscious consumers in their behaviour (e.g. use, purchasing, decision-making).
  • Striving towards sustainability to enhance consumers’ interests and well-being through consumer education and policy-changing efforts.

CON-WELL is involved in refined projects based on different consumer-related problems. These problems are timely and relevant to the South African and international context.

A research problem or project is approached by a team of researchers with expertise in different areas.

Our main target population

Consumers in South Africa from different demographic subgroups with respect to gender, age, level of education, income and ethnicity.

Postgraduate students in the current research project

Master’s-degree and doctoral students are currently accommodated in CON-WELL. Students who are interested in taking up master’s-degree or doctoral studies are invited to contact Prof Daleen van der Merwe.

Recently completed postgraduate projects of PhD students

Taljaard, I. 2020. Exploring the relationship between selected internal consumer behaviour variables and the emotional response to the sensory properties of chocolate. Promotor: Prof. A. Mielmann, co-promotor: Dr. N. le Roux.

Coetzee, N. 2019. Employing developed sewing training material in an intervention for low-literate participants of rural income generating projects. Promoter: Dr. H. van Staden, co-promoters: Prof. W. Oldewage-Theron, Dr. C. Niesing    

Le Roux, N. 2018. Profiling consumers within a corporate South African context according to their decision-making, physical and psycho-social well-being. Promoter: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-promoters: Prof. M.P. Wissing, Prof. C. Wilders.

Van Zyl, SD. 2018. Consumers’ food label behaviour: A preventive and interventive educational model for informed decision making. Promoter: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-promoter: Prof. S.M. Hanekom.

Van Staden, H. 2012. The use of clothing labels by female black low-literate consumers. Promoter: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-promoter: Prof. A.M. van Aardt.

Matenge, STP. 2011. Utilisation of traditional and indigenous foods in the North-West Province of South Africa. Promoter: Prof. A. Kruger, co-promoter: Prof. M. van der Merwe, assistant promoter: Dr. H. de Beer.

Completed projects of master’s-degree students

Brits, C.C.  2020.  E-tailing: Consumers’ perceived risks and coping strategies – a study performed in Potchefstroom, North West Province. Supervisor: Dr. N. le Roux, co-supervisors: Dr. H. van Staden and H. Dreyer. 

Nel, M. 2020.  The role of knowledge on the effect of external influences on the food information search of working female consumers. Supervisor: Prof. D. van der Merwe, co-supervisor: Dr. H. de Beer.

Sousa, N. V. 2020. Challenges and coping strategies of employed female consumers during household purchases decisions. Supervisor: Dr. M. du Preez, co-supervisor: Dr. N. le Roux.

Harmse, J. 2018. Exploring the challenges income-earning households experience regarding household food security in the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme. Supervisor: Dr. H. de Beer, co-supervisor: Dr. A. Mielmann.

Marx, I. 2018. Consumers’ subjective and objective knowledge of genetically modified food in a South African context. Supervisor: L. Wyma, co-supervisors: E. Botha, Prof. C.D. Viljoen.

Van den Berg, MS. 2018. Consumers’ knowledge and utilisation practices regarding plastic food and beverage packaging and containers. Supervisor: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-supervisor: L. Wyma.

Botha, J. 2017. Understanding the motives of consumers employed at a nutrition company for choosing sugared dairy products. Supervisor: Dr. A. Mielmann, co-supervisor: H. Dreyer.

Coelho, DC. 2016. Older female consumers' quality perception of clothing during pre- and post-purchase decision-making. Supervisor: E. Botha, co-supervisor: N. van der Colff

Pretorius, LS. 2016. Rural consumers' consciousness and use of the Consumer Protection Act in the Valspan community within the Phokwane Municipality. Supervisor: M. du Preez, co-supervisor: N. le Roux, assistant supervisor: E.L. Barratt.

Coetzee, L. 2015. Exploring household food security and the acceptance of an amaranth enriched food product. Supervisor: dr H. de Beer, co-supervisor: Dr A. Mielmann.

Havenga, R. 2015. Food label knowledge: a comparison between developing and developed country context. Supervisor: prof M. van der Merwe, co-supervisors: Profs. M.J.C. Bosman and M. Warnock.

Swart, P. 2015. Assessment of food security-related projects of the Student Rag Community Service Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University. Supervisor: Dr. H. de Beer, co-supervisor: C. Niesing.

Van Wyk, D. 2014. Exploring household food security in the Vaalharts area. Supervisor: Dr. H. de Beer, co-supervisor: L. Wyma.

Irvine, F. 2014. Functionally low-literate consumers’ use of food labels in the rural area of Valspan in the North West Province of South Africa. Supervisor: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-supervisors: Prof. M.J.C. Bosman and Dr. H. van Staden.

Jordaan, F. 2014. Enhancement of household food security by addressing food utilisation, production and handling practices, Viljoenskroon. Supervisor: Dr. H. de Beer, co-supervisors: M. du Preez and N. van der Colff.

Van der Merwe, L. 2014. Motivation of women to participate in an income-generating project: FLAGH programme. Supervisor: Dr. H. de Beer, co-supervisor: E. Botha.

Van Schalkwyk, C. 2014. Consumers' knowledge of clothing labels in a developing and developed country context. Supervisor: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-supervisors: Profs. M.J.C. Bosman and M Warnock.

Dreyer, H. 2013. Consumers' understanding and utilisation of textile eco-labels when making a pre-purchase decision. Supervisor: E. Botha, co-supervisors: Prof. M. van der Merwe and N. le Roux.

Labuschagne, A. 2011. Consumers' expectations of furniture labels during their pre-purchase information search: towards label development. Supervisor: S.D. van Zyl, co-supervisor: Prof. M. van der Merwe, assistant supervisor: Prof. A. Kruger.

Molefe, KM. 2011. An education and training programme as a strategy to improve consumers' knowledge and operation towards basic water utilization. Supervisor: Dr. M.D. Venter, co-supervisor: L. van Niekerk.

Niemann, AM. 2011. Male and female consumers' knowledge, perceptions and use of clothing labels. Supervisor: M Larney, co-supervisor: Prof. A.M. van Aardt.

Prinsloo, N. 2011. Consumer satisfaction with food labels during the pre-purchase in-store evaluation: a study in Gauteng. Supervisor: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-supervisors: Profs. M.J.C. Bosman and A.C. Erasmus.

Wyma, L. 2011. Consumers' preferences for private and national brand food products. M. Consumer Sciences. Supervisor: Prof. M. van der Merwe, co-supervisors: Profs. M.J.C. Bosman and A.C. Erasmus, assistant supervisor: Prof. H. Strydom.