Food and beverages is big business. Annual sales make this industry an attractive target to criminals, both in retail spaces and online.
As a result, counterfeits thrive and if products and their packaging look right they will convince most consumers to buy. Counterfeit wine and spirits, extra virgin olive oil, sugar with traces of fertilizer, and the list goes on and on. All with no quality control or regulated ingredients.
This has created a danger for consumers, but also for brand owners. If a consumer falls ill from fake food or drink, the brand’s name will be involved and result in negative impact on its reputation.
Counterfeit food and beverages are even easier to sell online, where for the low cost of a website and listings on online marketplaces, anyone can market their products and distribute them to consumers around the world, often with no accountability.
Fraudulent Technics used by online scammers vary and are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They include infringing domain names and replicating brand websites, all designed to mislead consumers and get them to buy counterfeited products.
This is even more difficult in emerging markets, where laws, regulations and local authorities may prove difficult to navigate.