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Protect your brand from counterfeiting - A necessary framework for food business

Is supply chain your weakest link?

Proliferation of spurious goods in the market is at an unprecedented rate. This advancement is being perceived as the biggest challenge for established brands as this is negatively affecting the top-line growth of the business. As per the Global brand counterfeiting report, the amount of total spurious goods has reached to 1.2 Trillion in 2018. Amid various reasons for infiltration, illicit supply chain is often attributed as the prime source which includes both offline and online medium. 

Counterfeit products perpetuate 

Apart from direct financial losses, spurious goods affect the brand loyalty due to poor quality and safety practices. Hence, organizations invest their resources hugely in fighting against this menace. In spite of these efforts, with globalization, the supply chain is becoming more complex and the counterfeit products perpetuate in the market. Let’s understand few pragmatic strategies that give a structured approach to these efforts

1. Organization policy As an entity, it is important to have a protocol to ensure the common practices across the company and its geographies. It shall include but not limited to communication plan, team structure, product withdraw and destruction approaches. Also, delineate the strategies to identify, prevent the infiltration and also enforce deterrence 

2. Team Competencies The organization should identify, nominate and delineate the roles and responsibilities of the team to steer the initiative. Also, the team shall comprise a blend of legal, enforcement and domain experts 

3. Packing Integrity - It is prudent that packing is an integral part of the product and hence a technology that ensures unique specifications to authenticate the legitimacy of the product at the last point of sale (retail or consumer) would be beneficial for the company 

4. Vendor Management - Businesses associate with various vendors during the product life cycle and every interaction would pose a potential risk of infiltration. Hence, the brand owners should ensure a compulsory audit clause in the contracts for effective monitoring of the controls. A strong due diligence program before selection of vendors is also a proven strategy   

5. Audit Program - Audits throughout the entire supply chain should be performed by internal auditors as well as by third parties. Frequency and the type of audits (announced and unannounced audits) shall be drafted based on the previous history and risk

6. Market Surveillance - Tracking the product and understanding its mobility in the supply chain is one of the monitoring measures. Engaging third party companies to perform surveillance in the market is a well known approach apart from implementing IT systems in tracking the mobility of the product

Apart from the above, as this is pestering issue collaboration with trade partners, competitors, suppliers and law enforcement would address this issue as a consortium. Active participation in industry organizations, conferences can be a resource for information on how to protect your brand from counterfeit activities. 

With increases emphasis on the food defense in various voluntary programs, it is becoming critical for businesses to draw a brand protection framework. Please write us at for a detailed approach to strengthen your supply chain integrity. 

*Legitimate goods which are diverted to different geographics without the cognizance of brand owner are called "grey goods" and these are out of the scope for the above article 
Watch this space for IT solutions related to traceability of products  

(All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site)

Issue 20


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