First anti-theft label created for direct contact with fresh produce

Posted by Isobel Drake on 28th May 2008

Checkpoint Systems and Sealed Air Cryovac have reportedly created the first integrated and automated anti-theft tagging system for direct contact with fresh food products.

The combination of Checkpoint’s Food-Safe EAS labels, certified for direct contact with food, and Sealed Air Cryovac Smartpak vacuum shrink bags, is also anticipated to allow retailers to reduce inventory shrinkage of cheese and fresh products.

According to Checkpoint Systems, the idea came from concerns about increasing theft of fresh products, particularly cheese. “The Global Theft Barometer has highlighted an increased amount of theft of certain food products,” stated Rob Van Der Merwe, President and CEO of Checkpoint Systems, Inc. “In Italy, for instance, Parmigiano Reggiano has a shrink rate of about 9 percent. The combination of the Checkpoint and Cryovac solution is a good example to combat grocery shrinkage.”

Checkpoint’s collaboration with Sealed Air Cryovac in Italy began in early 2007. The companies initiated a label and source tagging program designed to protect food, such as meat and dairy products. Checkpoint laboratories produced the first RF-EAS Food-Safe label – the only label to date that has received European authorization and ISEGA certification, for direct contact with dry, moist and fatty food products. The label also meets all FDA guidelines for direct food contact.

Sealed Air Cryovac then set up a manufacturing system to integrate Checkpoint’s Food-Safe anti-theft label inside its Cryovac vacuum shrink bags. The integration makes it difficult to tamper with product packaging and defeat the anti-theft label.

The first tests were conducted with Parmigiano Reggiano in Italy for a six-month period to determine the effectiveness of Checkpoint’s label source tagged and integrated into Cryovac vacuum shrink bags. The first market request to Sealed Air Cryovac was for two million packs for the protection of Parmigiano Reggiano alone. However, it is expected that the system will be applied to other types of ‘softer’ cheeses and to packaged cold meats. These products represent a significant percentage of those displayed in supermarkets’ refrigerated food cabinets.

Initial studies have shown that this RF-EAS source tagging program may cut down inventory shrinkage of dairy products from 9 percent to 1 percent. “This integrated solution for the source tagging of food products that we have developed with Cryovac puts Checkpoint on the cutting-edge of source tagging solutions to fulfil requirements of both major retailers and producers of foodstuffs that are difficult to preserve,” Van Der Merwe proclaimed.

Cryovac Packaging believe that this technology will be of great benefit to retailers and represents the beginning of technology improvements in the fresh food sector. “With the RF technology provided by Checkpoint, we are able to help our customers and retailers to further improve their bottom lines by reducing the in-store theft of items,” said Mr. Gerd Wichmann, Marketing Director EMEA, Cryovac Packaging. “There are more opportunities with this technology in the fresh food segment.”

The Food-Safe label will enable the fresh food sector to gain all the benefits of source tagging, including time savings due to the elimination of manual label applications and decreased theft.

With shoplifting on the rise in Australia, according to recent figures from the Australian Retailers Association, such technology could be very useful to retailers.

From November to April theft from Australian retailers rose from 1.5% of revenue up to 2%, with some of the greatest shoplifting increases reported for food products such as butter.