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Food supply chains have been a target for counterfeiters and fraudsters for decades, and with food being one of the most cross-border traded products, there is always a high risk of diversions and tampering.  According to estimates by IFIS, food fraud costs the world between 10 and 15 billion dollars annually. 

Considering how dire the issue of food fraud is, food industry stakeholders have over the years explored the use of various methods and technologies to mitigate the situation, and artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be one of the most effective applications thus far. Artificial Intelligence enables food supply chains to operate more efficiently, ensuring that the supply chain is not only transparent but also tamper-proof.   

AI technology can help monitor both physical and digital aspects of the food supply chain. It may even be able to identify contamination in products, thus allowing for recalls even before it reaches consumers.  Today, with the advent of technology, there are a lot of advantages to using artificial intelligence in food supply chains in order to check food fraud and counterfeit food products. 

The Benefits of AI in Food Supply Chains

The potential of artificial intelligence in the food supply chain is yet to be fully realized. AI can work such that if food products are sold through any distribution channel, from manufacturer to retailers, then any error or fraud committed in the last few steps of the chain will be evident to these agents.  Access to real-time data, including consumer feedback, trends in consumer buying patterns and weather, location of the factories or farms, harvest progress and other measures by farmers and suppliers can be made available to all parties involved.  Additionally, it can be used to monitor the consumer demand for the product at every point of the supply chain. 

How AI can help Improve Food Safety

AI has proven to be a lot more than just a buzzword – It has been revolutionary for supply chains, optimizing workflows and improving supply chain management. The benefits of AI might be more evident in areas such as quality control and reducing food waste which will help ensure that the world eats safe, healthy food. 

It is interesting to note that consumers’ perception on food safety is changing significantly, a good reason to employ AI so it can help to continuously monitor food products at the source of supply and reduce the wastage and contamination.  As the digital transformation expands in the food sector, there is a chance that the current supply chain system will not be able to meet the demands of consumers, hence necessitating the introduction of artificial intelligence for more effective and automated monitoring of food supply chains.   

The demand for smart farm equipment is also increasing as operators require the use of technology such as cloud and AI in their practices. The growth in the market can be attributed to the increasing global population and the resultant growing demand for food.  

How AI helps monitor Food Supply Chains

Some examples include detecting possible leaks in shipping containers as well as identifying product contamination and counterfeit packaged food products. By using AI for detection, it can help reduce losses in terms of food quality.  Similarly, when it comes to food safety, AI can alert customers about food fraud or adulteration before it reaches them. In addition, anti-counterfeit AI can tell counterfeit food products from real products with a high degree of precision. In spite of all these pros for AI technology use in the food industry, its application in the industry is still not yet adequately wide-spread. For the situation to improve, AI-powered technologies must be integrated with various supply chain processes. This will make it easier for people in the supply chain to assess and improve performance, increasing customer confidence and brand loyalty. 

The use of AI to Combat Food Diversions and Fraud

Anti-counterfeit AI uses machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence to recognize counterfeit products from genuine ones. Machine learning enables algorithms to develop based on training examples, similar to how a human learns. The main difference between a human and an algorithm is the structure of their learning process.  An algorithm can only look for similarities in examples rather than specific examples. The quantity of the training examples and the way the algorithm searches for those similarities can vary from one algorithm to another.  To prevent their counterfeits from entering the market and put a dent on their revenue, brands must employ machine learning to identify and prevent counterfeiting at scale.  

How AI Monitors the Authenticity of Products

Artificial intelligence is increasingly being deployed by supply chain players to detect, prevent and mitigate risks to the food supply chain.  A few of the areas where anti-counterfeit AI technology has helped in the food supply chain is quality assurance. Increasingly, players in the food supply chain are adopting machine learning algorithms for quality control of goods before they are distributed. For instance, countries like Canada and United States use food quality-monitoring sensors to monitor the quality of food products. This can be done by analyzing radio-frequency emissions and temperature readings of the product, to identify if there is any microbiological, chemical or physical compromise in the quality. 

Cypheme’s Anti-counterfeit Solution’s role in ensuring Food Safety

Cypheme employs advanced anti-counterfeit AI to detect counterfeiting in food products. Our Noise Print anti-counterfeit tags are tamperproof and impossible to duplicate. In addition, Cypheme’s patented technology can help to track the counterfeiters and where they are perpetuating their criminal activities. A person buying the brand’s product can scan the tag to tell its authenticity, and upon scanning the label/tag, the buyer is redirected to either the brand’s authentication portal or Cypheme’s WeChat or Facebook account.  

The Cypheme solution also presents brands with an interface which allows them display additional information about the product being scanned – some of the information that can be displayed to the consumer upon scanning includes: 

  • Food ingredients 
  • Marketing offers and coupons 
  • Brand information 

Counterfeiting of food products, beyond its dramatic consequences both on the brand’s reputation and revenue, has a negative impact on the health of consumers too. Millions of people are put in hazardous situations annually due to the intake of fake and contaminated food products. On the monetary side of things, the packaged food industry also losses billions of dollars due to counterfeit products carrying their brand name. 

Cypheme’s anti-counterfeit AI technology by doing its work to prevent diversions, frauds and counterfeiting in food supply chains, helps brands to secure their reputations, recover lost revenue and guard against loss of revenue to counterfeiters – and more importantly, the safety of consumers is assured. 

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