Edible or potable substance (animal or plant origin), consisting of nourishing and nutritive components such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, essential mineral and vitamins, which sustains life, generates energy, and provides growth, maintenance, and health of the body.
The liquor or alcohol industry is in the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages.
Food/Liquor Market Background
Lepton-id -- providing technology solutions for authentication and preventing diversion and counterfeiting.
Clearly, in most all worldwide markets, taxes on food and liquor represents a significant revenue source for government tax collections. Illegal activities such as smuggling and diversion aids criminals in tax evasion. Obviously, theft of these tax revenues affects all of society and prevents monies from reaching their intended people. It is understood that these funds acquired by illegal means assist organized crime, terrorists and other criminal activities.
For consumers and brand owners, illegal pirating and counterfeiting represent serious health risks in addition to lost revenues. The Lepton-id charter is to provide consumers, governments and brand owners with technology and solutions to easily certify and authenticate that Food and Liquor being distributed and sold are legitimate.
The challenges are great as many popular foods from fish to olive oil to coffee are modified and/or purposely mislabeled to represent a brand they are not. The stories are vast of olive oil labeled as "From Italy", but has only been routed through the actual country. These fake products are often diluted with cheaper vegetable oils, soybean etc.
Most shoppers can determine that a supposed Louis Vuitton handbag being sold by a vendor on the sidewalk for $50. are probably not authentic. However, would you know if an attractive bottle of virgin olive oil on the shelf at your food store was genuine? Even a savvy shopper would not think that this product was fake. This is a real scenario in a food fraud world.
The worldwide marketplace is littered with fake food and liquor products from milk to honey to blueberries to orange juice. Often, these fake products are tampered with other materials not designed for human consumption. Many consumers are somewhat diligent about fish purchases because of mercury levels and the shelf life of the product. It is disconcerting that a study by Oceana from 2010 to 2012 found that 33 percent of the 1,215 samples they analyzed nationwide were mislabeled according to FDA guidelines. The samples were collected from 674 retail outlets in 21 states. Samples labeled as snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates (87 and 59 percent); only seven of the 120 samples of red snapper purchased nationwide were actually red snapper, the other 113 samples were another fish. The University of North Carolina found that 77 percent of fish labeled as red snapper was actually tilapia. The stories go on and on.
Lepton-id has targeted covert and overt technology and techniques to guarantee brand owners and consumers are protected. Application of our proprietary taggants in the product packaging makes for a unique solution for every custom application. The safety levels to consumers soar and the Return on Investment (ROI) for brand owners is terrific.
Lepton-id Brand Protection
The Lepton-id differentiator is a multi-level protection scheme whereby the physical product and the product packaging are independently protected. This protection if often represented with nano-particle taggants and customized detectors that only read these taggants. Utilization of state-of-the-art nano-scale technologies, these taggants are used to locate counterfeiting, product modifications and our solutions extend to not only the physical product, but supply chain violations targeted at legitimate products being diverted to incorrect channels. Analysis of these taggant markers can be done in the field and on the product and packaging located in the supply chain.
Included in the Lepton-id capabilities are authenticating packaging, closure seals, tamper-evident labeling, bottle caps, tapes that tear away etc. just to name a few. The combination of covert, overt and forensic authentication technologies allow our Solutions to help brand owners and Consumers check and determine the product is legitimate in the supply chain and the point of purchase.
Case Study – Brand Protection
Several years ago, a customer in South America needed a solution to address a liquor counterfeiting issue. Analyzing their yearly production of over 60 million bottles of different alcohols, this application represented one of the largest sources of government tax revenues ($150M+). The brand owner believed between outright counterfeiting and product being illegally modified the percentage of counterfeit alcohol in the supply chain was over 30%. This represented a severe impact on their brand, damaged revenues and perhaps most importantly, created a potential hazard to the unsuspecting customer. Long term impact would include possible legal costs and of course, government tax audits.
The Recommendation (Solution)
To address this issue, a program would be developed which used packaging taggants in conjunction with taggant detectors. These products would then be audited at final manufacturing test and in the distribution channel. For packaging authentication, an overt feature was added as tamper evidence for view by consumers and a covert feature was included for inspectors armed with the verification detectors.
In year one, over 90 million bottles were marked with this tracking solution. Over 1000 inspectors in the United States had been deployed in over 300 retail location. Of these audited locations, nearly 10% were found to contain counterfeit bottles and several locations were engaged by police and government authorities. This severely affected the potential for subsequent illegal or illicit product from entering the supply chain. In addition to an increase in revenue, the customers were now guaranteed to receive legitimate product.