How to stay safe from counterfeits this festive season

The start of the festive season marks the beginning of huge discounts, alluring deals, cashback offers and a lot of other perky things. These enticing offers instantly catch your attention and motivate you to avail them at the earliest. Seeing a huge slash in prices you are tempted to buy your favourite items. However, many times these offers are too good to be true and you may receive a counterfeit or spurious product in the garb of a festive offer.

So before making the purchase you must consider certain points, let’s discuss the same.

Look closely at the labels and packaging

Look at the labels, packaging, printing and the text closely. If you notice any flaw in the spellings, grammar, print quality or any other discrepancies then it could be a sign of counterfeit. Also, be cautious of products that include a ‘Made in China’ unless and until the product is merchandise manufactured in China, perform a web search for it.

Buy from an authorised dealer

Always go for an authorised dealer while purchasing or replacing products. This is highly important in a scenario where you are purchasing or replacing spare parts for automobiles, aeroplanes and other items.

Are there no taxes?

Always be cautious of deals which allow you to purchase without value-added tax, sales tax etc. This is usually in case of counterfeits which evade huge amount of taxes every year.

Purchase from a secure e-commerce website

Try to avoid purchasing from websites that do not have https in their domain. The ‘s’ in https stands for secure which is generally used by authorised and credible websites. Legitimate retailers will always ensure that their customers buy through a secure setting and are not duped with counterfeits.

Is the deal too good to be true?

One of the biggest giveaways for consumers is that ‘a deal is too good to be true’. Seasonal discounts or factory prices are fine but if the prices are too low compared to the regular price of the product then there are high chances that the product is a counterfeit. Take a cue from this and thoroughly check the labels and tags of the product.

Look for holographic and digital authentication

Last but not least is to visually identify security holograms or digitally authenticate QR codes and bar codes printed on the product. Due to the rise of counterfeiting companies are using security holograms and QR codes on their products. Security holograms are 3D holographic devices with optical properties and show different images or features corresponding to the angle of viewing. Try to view the holograms from different angles and you will be able to notice the different colours and images in it. There are also other covert features which can only be viewed with special instruments. For QR code authentication you will require a QR code scanning mobile application which will determine the genuineness of the product.

To know more about our products and solutions call us on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@ec2-54-210-245-44.compute-1.amazonaws.com.

What are the negative impacts of counterfeiting in the tobacco industry?

Did you know that counterfeit cigarettes can contain arsenic, pesticides and even rat poison? Well, there have been numerous instances across the world where authorities have seized large stocks of fake cigarettes, phoney cigars and other cheap grade tobacco products.

According to a report by UK daily Independent, “Almost 45 billion fake cigarettes, which can contain arsenic, pesticides and rat poison, are smoked in the UK each year.”

However, the problem of fake tobacco is on the global scale and different countries are facing the onslaught of counterfeit tobacco products. According to a report by FICCI CASCADE, “The illicit tobacco market is expected to grow by 16% by 2020.”

Such alarming figures point towards a grim scenario where not just tobacco product manufacturers but also the consumers will have to face many negative outcomes. Some of the harmful effects of fake tobacco products are as follows:

  • Fake tobacco items bring down the sale of legitimate manufacturers and suppliers.
  • Counterfeit tobacco products lead to massive revenue losses every year for the government.
  • Fake tobacco products are highly toxic for the consumers and thus jeopardize their health.
  • Counterfeit tobacco products lead to an increase in other forms of criminal activities.

Experts believe that a rise in tax, high prices of tobacco goods lead to the popularity of counterfeits. Governments are now strictly dealing with the sale and supply of fake tobacco products. Customs officials and police authorities are keeping a close watch of criminal networks dealing in the trade of fake tobacco products. Besides government monitoring, use of different anti-counterfeiting solutions is also safeguarding tobacco-based products against duplication.

Holostik is one of the pioneers in providing high quality customised anti-counterfeiting solutions. The company provides a gamut of security products to the tobacco industry which includes tax stamps, security holograms, security pouches, wide web films etc.

To get anti-counterfeiting products and solutions from us call us on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@ec2-54-210-245-44.compute-1.amazonaws.com.

The growing menace of fake products in the e-commerce industry

The e-commerce industry in India is facing the menace of counterfeiting. According to Local Circles, a community media platform, one in five products sold on e-commerce websites in India is fake. Another survey by market research firm Velocity MR has revealed that every one out of three online shoppers has received a fake product. However, that’s just a minor revelation and the problem is much bigger. In the present times when your favourite products are just a click away the incidents of counterfeiting have increased rapidly.

Counterfeits pose a risk to the manufacturer, e-commerce players and end-consumers. According to a reputed media house, fake products are risky for the investors and government exchequer. Fake goods don’t just impact genuine brands and investors but also the customers. A fake cosmetic can ruin the skin, a counterfeit toy can be dangerous for a child or a fancy looking apparel may cause skin allergy the list seems endless.

In order to the fight the scourge of fake products in the e-commerce industry, the Indian government has issued a draft national e-commerce policy which aims at regulating cross border data flow, prevents piracy and counterfeiting and requires all online sellers to register their business locally.

E-Commerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba have also implemented different regulatory measures for curbing the sale of counterfeits on their platforms. In a blog post, Amazon has stated, “Brands provide us with their logos, trademarks, and other key data and we can scan over 5 billion product listing updates every day, looking for suspected counterfeits.”

Product tracking, digital authentication, serialization and holography can also play an important role in preventing counterfeits and any form of tampering. A recent example is the rampant use of QR enabled holographic labels or holograms by which help in authenticating the genuineness of the product instantly.

Many e-commerce companies are also using anti-tamper packaging labels and holograms to prevent tampering and duplication. Anti-counterfeiting mechanisms have become necessary today for e-commerce companies and manufacturers in order to clamp down on counterfeiting and prevent any possible loss. In case you are willing to secure your products from counterfeiting, tampering and diversion call us on +91–785-785-7000 or drop a mail at connect@ec2-54-210-245-44.compute-1.amazonaws.com.

Fake health supplements: Doing more harm than good!

Almost two decades back people in India were not at all bothered about health, but now things have changed drastically. The popular health culture of the West, the obsession to look good and intense competition has created a general awareness regarding health and nutrition.

This has led to a spur in the demand for health and nutrition-based supplements in India.  According to market reports, “The dietary supplements market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% from 2015 to 2023. Vitamins and minerals occupy a larger share of the pie in the Indian dietary supplements market – 40% – followed by the herbal segment contributing 30%, proteins segment contributing 25% and other segments contributing around 5% of the total market.”

Despite the enormous growth, the health & nutrition supplement industry is facing the issue of fake and spurious products. The number of fake supplements is increasing. The idea of building iron physique by consuming cheap protein and vitamin supplements has ruined the health of many consumers. There are numerous media reports on the growing industry of fake supplements. As per a joint report by ASSOCHAM & RNCOS around 60-70 % of health supplements sold in India are fake.

ASSOCHAM predicts that the market for dietary supplements will increase to $4 billion by 2020. With this massive growth in perspective, counterfeiters will speed up their illicit activities of manufacturing and selling fake supplements in the market.

The problem of fake supplements is not just limited to India but is also affecting countries in the West. Recently, the global retail giant Amazon issued warning notices to its consumers regarding the fake supplements which they had bought online.

Health supplement manufacturers can play a pivotal role in curbing the menace of fake health supplements. They can use different kinds of anti-counterfeiting products and solutions which help in product authentication and tracking & tracing the product supply chain. Effective and timely use of anti-counterfeiting solutions can prevent the likelihood of counterfeiting, tampering and diversion. The diligent move benefits both the manufacturers and consumers in the long run.

If you are into the manufacturing or import of dietary supplements, then you can get the best anti-counterfeiting products & solutions from us, which will be customised as per your needs. Call us on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@ec2-54-210-245-44.compute-1.amazonaws.com.

Why securing supply chains is important for manufacturers?

Supply chains are like the nervous system of organizations. A healthy supply chain ensures that a company is progressing on the growth path.  Supply chains should always be on high priority of companies as loopholes in the supply chain can lead to an escalation of costs, poor delivery management and a threat to intellectual property. Moreover, the supply of tampered and counterfeit products can lead to unwanted legal issues and a blot on the brand image.

Today, supply chains are prone to threats like theft, sabotage, terrorism, malware attacks, piracy etc. While threats cannot be completely erased, certain security measures can help to secure supply chains.

Holostik which is a pioneer in providing anti-duplication products and solutions also provides comprehensive and customised supply chain management solutions to companies. Moving a step ahead in anti-duplication technology the company helps to secure

Nowadays, companies are facing the regular threat of duplication. Counterfeiting or duplication can take place at any stage of the supply chain. However, monitoring the entire supply chain is a herculean task and manually it is challenging to examine loopholes or errors in the complete supply chain of a company.

In order to secure the supply chains against the menace of duplication different kind of technologies have been put into use. However, the most effective among them is the use of track and trace technology which closely monitors the movement and quantity of the product across the supply chain. Holostik provides a customised barcode or QR code along with a security hologram to products. This helps in not just authenticating the product but also helps in the implementation of other IT enabled solutions like track and trace, supply chain management, reward management, inventory management etc.

Digital authentication can take place through a QR code and bar code can take place on an individual product, pack case and pallet. The highlighting feature of this security product is that it cannot be copied easily due to the presence of physical hologram along with the QR code.

Holostik a pioneer of anti-counterfeiting solutions and provides a range of holographic and digital authentication solutions for securing supply chains. Its security holograms enabled with digital authentication solutions helps in providing a multi-layered security approach to the product and the company.

To get the best solutions for your supply chain, call us on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@ec2-54-210-245-44.compute-1.amazonaws.com.

How does counterfeiting affects consumers?

Counterfeiting or duplication is a growing menace which has an evil impact on different industries. Organisations lose millions of dollars every year due to the sale of counterfeit products. The problem of duplication has sneaked in every sector. It is estimated that by 2022, the value of counterfeit and pirated goods will be around $1.90 -$2.81 trillion as per FICCI.

Most of the times the repeated attempts of organizations to fight the counterfeits have turned futile. A large amount of money and resources are spent on fighting fakes. However, it is not just the companies which are facing the wrath of counterfeit products, consumers also bear its brunt. To say it simply, there are many impacts of duplication on the consumers.

Duplication poses a significant risk to consumers. Counterfeit goods can lead to injuries, illnesses, death as in the case of counterfeit drugs. In cases where counterfeit goods cause no physical harm, consumers are harmed financially when they are duped into spending their hard-earned cash for a poor-quality fake.

Let’s discuss the negative effects of counterfeiting on consumers.

Fake products are harmful to the health of consumers: Whether it’s a counterfeit drug, counterfeit alcohol or a fake food item all are harmful to the health of the consumers. People who consume these items generally report of food poisoning, nausea, indigestion, kidney and liver ailments.

Duplicate products lead to the monetary loss of the consumers: Besides having a negative impact on health fake products also lead to the financial loss of the consumers. Every year it’s not just the companies but consumers also lose an enormous amount of money as they are duped due to fake products.

Consumers lose trust in the product and the brand: Many a time a product or a service is beneficial for the consumer but due to the sale of counterfeits original products and companies lose their credibility. This brings down the reputation of the brands in the long run and a company is not able to win the trust of the consumer again.

The link between counterfeiting and organized crime

International law enforcement and market experts have established a close link between counterfeiting and other forms of criminal activities. It has been found that the counterfeiting business helps criminals to fuel other illegal activities and vice-versa. EUROPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) has even warned that counterfeiting is an increasingly attractive avenue for organized crime syndicates to diversify and increase their illicit businesses.

It has also been found that counterfeiters use similar routes and modus operandi to supply counterfeit goods as they do to smuggle drugs, firearms and human trafficking. Profits from other crimes and illicit activities also help in the production and distribution of counterfeit goods. Many reports from different countries have established the fact that profits from crimes like drug trafficking and other crimes were used to promote the business of counterfeiting and, similarly proceeds from the sale of duplicate goods were used to promote the criminal’s other illicit activities.

One of the main reasons why criminals choose counterfeiting over other criminal activities is due to its favourable ratio between potential profits and possible risks. According to Executive Director, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Yuri Fedotov, “In comparison to other crimes such as drug trafficking, the production and distribution of counterfeit goods present a low-risk/high-profit opportunity for criminals. Counterfeiting feeds money laundering activities and encourages corruption. There is also evidence of some involvement or overlap with drug trafficking and other serious crimes.”

As per trade, reports counterfeiting is now placed amongst the highest income sources for organized criminal activities. Counterfeiting or duplication also helps in money laundering by providing a platform through which criminal organization can invest the proceeds of their illicit activities. In a nutshell, organized crime syndicates use counterfeiting as a medium to optimize their other criminal activities.

The growth of counterfeiting in the packaged food industry

Lately, the Food Safety Department seized over 1000 Kg of counterfeit desi ghee from a market in Delhi. Besides the content, the forgers had copied the packaging, trademarks and logos of a popular desi ghee brand and were selling counterfeit in its name. However, the authorities caught the loopholes and seized a large number of fake desi ghee bottles.

Counterfeiting of packaged foods is not something new and there have been numerous incidents related to the same over the past years. From tea to common salt, butter to bread, edible oils to pickles, a large number of packaged eatables have been counterfeited and adulterated.

As per Allied Market Research, “Packaged Food Market size is expected to garner $3.03 trillion by 2020, registering a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period 2015 – 2020.” Due to such a massive growth of the packaged food industry, counterfeiters are trying their level best to sell packaged foods by copying the content and packaging of the product.

Counterfeit packaged food is not just harmful to the manufacturers but equally impacts the consumers. According to a paper published by Michigan State University, Global Counterfeit Food & Beverage Packaging: Impacts on Food Safety, “Counterfeit food threats are becoming more common as supply chains become more global and as imaging and manufacturing technology becomes more accessible.”

Counterfeiters refill the original product package, adulterate its contents and copy the labels, logos and other trademarks. In order to check tampering, adulteration and counterfeiting of the original products, manufacturers must use different kinds of anti-counterfeiting packaging technologies. These technologies not just accentuate the brand’s visibility but also secures the brand from duplication and other harmful activities.

Hot stamping: A revolutionary printing method against counterfeiting

Hot stamping is a revolutionary printing method which is environment-friendly, easy to implement, durable and can include a variety of colours and processes. The printing method has diversified, since its rise to popularity in the 19th century. Post 70s, hot stamping became one of the most popular printing technologies used on plastic products. Once majorly used for only plastic products, hot stamping is now being used for electronic components, cosmetic items, automobile parts to name a few.

Hot stamping involves a process in which a part of the object is efficiently marked with the foil. The hot stamping foil can endure harsh conditions of nature like pressure, temperature, scratches etc. Now, let’s understand the process of hot stamping.

  • In a hot stamping machine, a die is mounted and heated.
  • The product which needs to be stamped is placed beneath the die.
  • A painted roll leaf carrier is inserted between the die and the product.
  • The die presses down through it.
  • The dry paint or foil is impressed onto the surface of the product.

The hot stamping process is easy to apply to the product and packaging.  It is also economical, environment-friendly and secures the product from counterfeiting. Being one of the largest hot stamping foil manufacturers in India Holostik takes advantage of being the leader of the anti-counterfeiting industry in India. We are not only serving our clients in more than 14 different industries but also helping them to choose from different variants of HSF or hot stamping foil.

What are the effects of counterfeiting on the alcohol & beverages industry?

At the start of this year, two ill-fated hooch tragedies in the states of Uttarakhand, UP and Assam took more than 200 lives and shocked the entire nation. A big question was raised on the regulatory framework of the states’ excise departments and the government machinery. However, hooch tragedies have been happening in India for the past so many years.

Here are the number of people who died due to counterfeit and adulterated liquor in the last 10 years.

Year State No. of deaths
2009 Gujarat 136
2011 West Bengal 172
2015 Mumbai 102
2016 Bihar 13
2019 UP & Uttarakhand 99
2019 Assam 114

The disturbing figures

According to Illicit Markets- A threat to our National Interests published by FICCI and Thought Arbitrage Research Institute in 2015, the grey market loss to the alcoholic beverage industry stood at INR 14,140 crore in 2014 which had increased from INR 5,626 crore in 2012.  This resulted in a huge tax loss to the government with an estimated revenue of INR 6,309 crore.

The figures are quite disturbing and have a direct impact on the alcohol and beverages industry in many ways. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Effects of counterfeiting on the alcohol and beverage industry

  1. Loss of tax revenue: Counterfeiters or forgers use different channels or means to sell illicit liquor which leads to evasion of taxes meant to collected by state and central governments.
  2. Promotes criminal activities: No wonder, the sale of counterfeit alcohol directly or indirectly benefits criminals and crime syndicates who use the profits incurred from it on other crimes.
  3. Loss of brand image: The sale of counterfeit or spurious alcohol tarnishes the image of the company and its products.
  4. Loss of consumers: One of the biggest threats of counterfeit alcohol is its effect on the health of the consumers. Besides serious conditions like liver or kidney failure, counterfeit alcohol can also take away their precious life.

The solution

One of the best solutions against illicit liquor is the use of tax stamps which include both physical and digital security features. For example, tax stamps must include bar codes or QR codes along with a hologram for enhanced two-step security. This helps in checking the counterfeiting of liquor to a large extent as fraudulent are not able to copy the holographic features with ease. Moreover, the digital security feature also helps in tracking the product in the supply chain along with a host of other IT-enabled supply chain management features.