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The holiday season is underway, and while the menace of counterfeit products has been prevalent for decades, incidences of food counterfeiting during the Yuletide season are on a steady rise, due to an increase in online shopping which has been catalysed by the Covid pandemic.

According to the findings in eGrocery’s New Reality: The Pandemic’s Lasting Impact on U.S. Grocery Shopping Behavior, the consumer demand for fresh and frozen food via online channels is expected to soar from $35 billion to more than $250 billion by 2025. Food product counterfeiting, or what the FDA calls “Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA),” is the intentional production and sale of food products that are not up to recognized standards for economic gain and do not undergo stipulated health checks.

Counterfeit food production is a global business worth over $50 billion annually, with Grocery Manufacturers of America estimating the annual cost of EMA in the United States to be between $10 and $15 billion. While fake goods, in general, are a huge threat to brand reputation and the economy, counterfeit food adds another layer of possible health ramifications and injury.

The challenge of counterfeit food products

Counterfeiters print fake labels of reputable brands on cheaper products made with lower quality ingredients. Some are adulterated or processed in a way that changes the original composition of the product. This is illegal and affects not just the producers and consumers but economies at large.

The most frequent food products counterfeited globally are seafood, dairy products, meat products, alcoholic beverages, and oils/fats. In the United States, the most frequently adulterated foods are:

– olive oil

– milk

– honey

– saffron

– orange juice

In a survey on the Consumer Packaged Goods industry & counterfeits carried out by an industry player in 2021, 39% of respondents said they lose trust in brands if they have unwittingly purchased a fake product. 44% of respondents said they had bought counterfeit food products in the past 12 months, including counterfeit alcohol, baked food, beverages, pet food, ready-to-eat meals, or processed food.

Companies and governments have joined forces to fight the global problem of counterfeiting. While governments employ the assistance of border control forces to seize counterfeit products, companies on their part are adopting anti-counterfeiting technologies like indelible ink, holograms and chemical labels to enable their customers verify the authenticity of their products.

How does anti-counterfeiting technology work?

Anti-counterfeit solution providers employ sophisticated technologies like artificial intelligence and algorithm powered labels to help brands protect themselves against counterfeiting.

Cypheme, an innovative anti-counterfeit solutions company uses the best AI fingerprint technology to protect brands and consumers. Cypheme’s solutions currently protect millions of food products annually.

The Cypheme solution

Cypheme’s anti-counterfeit tags can be affixed to food products, either on the label, the packaging or on the closing seal. The AI-powered tag is unique and impossible to duplicate.

Consumers can simply scan the tag or take a picture to authenticate the product via the brand’s or Cypheme’s WeChat and Facebook accounts. Customers can view information like the ingredients, origin, use-by date, etc.

Counterfeit products can be reported to the brand or the store, thus making consumers crusaders in the fight against counterfeit products.

Cypheme’s anti-counterfeit solutions are extremely easy to implement, and the company works with brands to understand the challenges and come up with unique solutions for their products.

Some more unique benefits of Cypheme’s anti-counterfeit solutions are:

Customers can buy your products safely as Cypheme is a preventative anti-counterfeit technology. Your customers can thus easily and quickly scan our labels on your product before making a purchase.

– Cypheme makes it easy to verify the authenticity of products, hence expediting customs clearance of your cargo container.

– Cypheme can be used by your inspectors to increase operational efficiencies.

– The Cypheme system can also be deployed via secure devices and thus also used by third parties.

– Our geolocation capabilities allow you to track your products in real-time when they are scanned, helping you to understand your demand and market.

– Cypheme also makes it possible for you to identify the locations of fake products around the world.

– Our technology is compatible with any traceability and internet of things (IoT) system to enable you reliably track individual products and understand your supply chain.

Other than being a trusted ally in your fight against counterfeit products, Cypheme solutions also help brands in their marketing strategies by providing invaluable real-time insights on the market.

For example

– Cypheme lets you know every time an individual user scans any of your products. This data allows you to identify loyal, repeat or unique customers, as well as all of your resellers.

– In compliance with the GDPR, users of the Cypheme service may also agree to share data about themselves, such as age or gender, providing you insights about your audience.

– Brands can also use this technology to share personalized marketing content, loyalty programs, information about the product, etc. to increase brand visibility and engage with customers.

Conclusion

Counterfeiters are using sophisticated technology to manufacture and market counterfeit food products that can very easily pass off as originals. But though the packaging may be close enough, the product is of inferior quality and produced without adherence to health and safety regulations. Hence, it is important for brands to invest in high-tech anti-counterfeit solutions like Cypheme to protect themselves and consumers from the negative repercussions of counterfeit products.

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