A spaza shop is an informal business that operates like a tuck shop. They can be seen as convenience stores that sell a wide variety of products. A large number of spaza shops in South Africa are run from home whilst others are set up like large stores that almost look like mini supermarkets. Most spaza shops especially the ones that operate from home are family run businesses. The larger ones are sometimes registered companies that are formed by a group of individual investors. These shops are usually located close to people’s homes and offer convenience to the customers they serve. Some of the products found in spaza shops include beverages, alcohol and ready made food like kotas. The list of some of these products is briefly described below.


One of the many products sold at a spaza shop in South Africa are beverages. It is common to find alcohol, softs drinks fruit juices and mageu to name a few beverages. In fact, beverage are some of the core products sold at spaza shops. These beverages are both local and imported. Most spaza shops earn a lot from selling alcohol. There are some spaza shops that sell hot beverages such as tea and coffee to their customers in the morning.

Baked Goods

Another popular product on the food and beverages group sold at spaza shops are baked goods. You are most likely going to find homemade donuts, scones, and buns and sometimes pastries. These products are convenient and quick especially for students and professionals that have busy lives and prefer a quick snack or meal from a spaza shop.

Canned Foods

A spaza shop is a mini grocery store for many people. Most food products that are sold in supermarkets can be found in spaza shops. Especially canned foods such as sardines, baked good and corned meat. Canned goods are products packaged in tin containers, such as tomato paste, sardines, canned sauces, and many other canned products.  Most food found in a spaza shop is convenient and quick to prepare. Canned products are also popular with a lot of spaza shops because they are affordable.

Basic Food

Food products such as maize meal, pasta and rice can be found in South Africa spaza shops. Sugar, salt and many other essentials and house hold staples or basic groceries are sold in spaza shops. However, compared to other types of retail stores such products are sold at a slightly higher price. The benefit of being able to buy any of these goods at any time of the day make the products a bit more expensive as spaza shop owners charge for the convenience they provide.

Dairy products and Meat

Also on our list of spaza shop products are dairy products and all kinds of meat. Many spaza shops sell meat including beef, chicken, and dairy products such as milk and yoghurt, to name a few. Some spaza shop owners even source directly from farm owners in order to become the shop that supplies fresh products. Other products such as eggs or any food products you find in supermarkets is more than likely going to be sold at a spaza shop.

Sweets and Snacks

A range of sweets and snacks including chips, chocolates, biltong, chewing gum, canned pudding,  sweet cakes and nuts are usually displayed at front window of a spaza shop or right by counter in an attractive and colorful way. This is done to lure customers to buy these snacks and sweets whenever they come to purchase from the spaza shop.

Prepared foods

In addition to the staples, sweets and beverages spaza shops are known for selling prepared sandwiches, pastries, and readymade meals designed to appeal to customers who visit the store hungry. Popular prepared meal sold at spaza shops are bunny chows and kotas. Kotas are so popular that there are spaza shops and franchises that strictly sell kotas nowadays.  A lot of spaza shops’ income is from selling kotas and alcohol.

Packaged Products

Packaged products are also part of the products sold at a spaza. These packaged products comprise of packaged goods. They include bread, assorted biscuits, rice, maize-meal, macaroni, and flour.


Spaza shop products include toiletries for the household. These toiletries include toothpaste, household detergents, soap, and other cleaning chemicals and bathing gels. Personal hygiene products such as wet wipes, feminine products, and lotions can be found at a spaza shop. Most of these products can be found at competitive prices in various spaza shops.

 Hair Products

Products in this category include every item needed to keep the hair neat, such as: hair extensions, hair cream, hair relaxing creams shampoos, conditioners, and styling gels. Spaza shop owners understand the need for hair and beauty products and add them to their inventory. There is a large market for hair and beauty products given that these products are found in large supermarkets, salons and even spaza shops.

Over the Counter Medication

Over the counter medication can be found in many spaza shops. You can buy a range of over-the-counter medications including aspirin, cough medicine, lip balm, sinus medication and throat lozenges.


Body lotions, hair cream, deodorants and make-up kits can be bought at spaza shops. Some spaza shops have become so large and have a wide range of products, you can find almost anything.  Also, such products are on high demand that is why they can be found at many spaza shops.

Other Items

There are other miscellaneous products that are sold at spaza shops such as cigarettes, candles, matchsticks, batteries, bandages, and antiseptic liquid or anything that can be needed by consumers during an emergency. Other products such as kids’ toys and accessories can be found in some spaza shops for impulsive buyers. Also, books, pens, pencils, rulers and other stationary for students and infants are sold in these shops.

There are plenty more spaza shops in the country that sell a variety of products. The list above is not exhaustive but gives an idea of the kind of products sold at spaza shop.