FrieslandCampina taps Kezzler to protect infant formula

Infant formula company FrieslandCampina will add serialized codes to its Friso brand to protect it from counterfeiters.

The codes – supplied by Norwegian company Kezzler – are already being deployed on Friso products being sold in Hong Kong and are in the process of being rolled out in mainland China.

Kezzler says it is currently serializing all Friso products destined for China and the codes will in time be rolled out to other global markets.

Parents in China are highly sensitised to the risks associated with counterfeit or adulterated infant formula following a notorious case in 2008 in which three children died and thousands became ill as a result of consuming fake products.

That incident resulted in increased government regulation and monitoring of the infant formula industry – as well as a massive increase in demand for western formula brands in favour of local Chinese alternatives.

Since then, western brands have also been targeted by counterfeiters, including in one 2015 case in which Abbott which was hit by criminals who peddled knock-off formula in forged containers with the company’s logos and branding.

China is the world's biggest infant formula market with annual sales of more than $20bn, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor.

Netherlands-headquartered FrieslandCampina is using Kezzler’s TrackEasy platform too boost confidence in its products by “eliminating concerns regarding fraudulent products in-market and enabling FrieslandCampina to engage with consumers directly.”

Using the system, a unique QR code is printed on the can for traceability purposes. As the product moves through the supply chain, data from upstream production partners, such as dairy farmers, and downstream participants, such as importers and distributors, is associated with each unit.

A second code placed inside that can be used by the consumer to determine the origins of the product and verify its authenticity, as well as taking advantage of loyalty programmes and promotions.

“We live in a world of complex, global supply chains. To properly ensure food safety, brands need to have full visibility from ingredients through to consumption for every product sold,” said Kezzler chief executive Christine Akelsen.

“I am convinced that this level of transparency will soon be expected for all consumer products,” she added.

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