Cargill adds anti-counterfeit label to cooking oil in India

Cargill Foods has added a smart label to tins of its Gemini brand cooking oil in India to try to protect consumers from counterfeits.

The label consists of a three-dimensional hologram which when viewed under a smartphone's torch light reveals '1865' the year of foundation of Cargill Foods India's operations, while customers can download an app (Mojo Tags) and use it to scan the batch number to see if it corresponds to numbers used on Cargill's genuine product.

The app will also allow Cargill to geo-locate where counterfeit oil products are scanned, which could help it work with enforcement agencies to find and take down counterfeit producers.

Gemini is the first of Cargill's food brands to get the new label, but the company says it intends to roll it out to other products, including Nature Fresh and Leonardo cooking oils. The company estimates that it loses 10 to 20 per cent of sales each year to fake products, according to a Franchise India report.

"This is the first time an edible oil brand in the country is making use of technology to fight the problem of counterfeiting," the company said in a statement, adding that Gemini is the number one oil brand in Maharashtra with a 27 per cent share of the market.

According to a study by KPMG-FICCI, about 80 per cent of Indian consumers are victims of deceptive counterfeiting. While consumers end up paying excessively for low quality products that could have health and safety risks, producers risk damage to brand image.

"Counterfeiting in India is rising at an alarming rate, especially in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector," according to Neelima Burra, chief Marketing Officer for Cargill Foods , who noted that FICCI-KPMG suggests that out of the total counterfeit market two-thirds is from this sector.

"The edible oil industry is one of the most unorganized sectors in terms of distribution in India, hence, it holds a larger risk of duplicity. Therefore, ensuring that the right product reaches the consumer becomes utmost important," she added.

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