FOOD & BEVERAGE
The profits of the underground industry producing counterfeit beverages and foods has been estimated at $49 billion a year. In addition to the more high-profile issue of counterfeit alcohol, other highly counterfeited foods include coffee, vanilla extract, maple syrup, apple juice, honey, milk, and olive oil. Some food items are regionally significant, and the location is part of the branding that criminals copy. Dilution of prime brands with inferior products presents a concern as well.
This type of counterfeiting, because the product is ingestible, is considered a worldwide consumer safety issue. Undisclosed adulterations, particularly faced by a consumer with food allergies, could lead to dire consequences. Legitimate food purveyors suffer errant product recalls due to consumer safety concerns or see a decline in their brand’s reputation as a result of a bad counterfeit product experience, permanently damaging the brand in the eyes of that consumer.
Food tampering and counterfeiting have completely discredited China’s production of baby formula and its consumers seek out products that are produced abroad to keep their babies safe. The trouble is that counterfeiters then copy the packaging of the other countries to exploit the price difference. If there are criminals willing to poison baby formula, your product needs protection from Stardust.
Geographic food specialties are quickly becoming globally recognized brands like Champagne and Parmigiano. Legislation helps the brand owners preserve the value of the name. However, without a way to authenticate the origin, it’s impossible to separate the real from the fake. More commonly, valuable time is wasted as large shipments sit idle at world’s ports of entry awaiting verification, and the ability to quickly authenticate products and shipments of goods marked with Stardust can increase the flow of goods and reduce the potential of spoilage.