Cherry producer says digital fingerprint curbs fakes

Australian cherry grower Reid Fruits says it has seen a big decrease in counterfeiting since deploying an authentication technology.

The technology – implemented with the help of brand protection specialist Laava and digital print company Peacock Bros – relies on the use of a security label with a printed code that can be scanned to verify that the pack is authentic.

The Tasmania-based fruit exporter told SecurityBrief Australia that it had seen counterfeit cases fall from an estimate of thousands every season three years ago – before implementing the security technology – to just 10 cases in 2019-20, and three in 2020-21.

In the last season, Reid Fruits also started to issue authorised supplier certificates for its import partners, once again protected using Laava's Smart Fingerprint labels, to allow them to verify to customers they are authorised to sell the company's products.

In 2018, one of Reid Fruits importers saw his sales practically halved due to counterfeiting, losing an estimated A$400,000 (around $270,000).

Laava's chief executive Gavin Ger told the newsletter: "Not only does this identify instances of fraudulent activity, but counterfeiters soon realise that their actions will not go unnoticed if they try to copy Reid Fruits packaging to leverage their strong market reputation with a substituted and inferior product."

There is a ready market for Australian cherries in Asian markets – particularly in China and Hong Kong around the New Year celebrations. Cherries are a sought-after gift during the holiday period amid strong demand for fresh produce from around the world, and Tasmanian cherries are viewed as a premium product.

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