Cherry grower Reid Fruits, based in Tasmania, Australia, has seen a dramatic decline in product counterfeiting over the past three export seasons to Asia, as a result of a Smart Fingerprint solution developed by brand authentication technologist Laava, in collaboration with Peacock Bros, a leading digital label and supply chain solutions provider.

The Laava Smart Fingerprint provided Reid Fruits with a secure on-product gateway for brand protection and consumer engagement, it says.

“Counterfeiting is a massive issue for us, as well as for countless other Australian fresh fruit producers,” said Tim Reid, managing director at Reid Fruits. “The Smart Fingerprint technology offers a level of secure authentication that will make it extremely difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.”

Reid Fruits has been applying Laava’s patented technology on its cherry boxes for 20 export markets from the 2019-20 picking season. The company says it went from experiencing potentially thousands of counterfeits per season, to having 10 cases stopped by the Laava platform in 2019-20, and only three in 2020-21 – a 60% reduction over the previous year.

“The fact that Reid Fruits has experienced such a dramatic decline in product counterfeiting activity demonstrates the direct benefit of the Smart Fingerprint technology,” said Gavin Ger, Laava’s CEO. “Not only does this identify instances of fraudulent activity, but counterfeiters soon realise their actions will not go unnoticed if they try to copy Reid Fruits packaging.”

The Fingerprints are printed by Peacock Bros. using digital label printing and finishing technologies. Each label uses images that are uniquely generated to each individual product and use proprietary optical scanning technology, making them much more secure than a QR code, the companies say.

When a cherry box featuring a counterfeited Laava Smart Fingerprint is scanned by the consumer, a ‘Suspected Counterfeit’ message will be displayed on their smartphone screen, alerting them to the product not being authentic, along with support information from Reid Fruits.

Ryan McGrath, group managing director at Peacock Bros commented, “Securing products at item level provides the framework for implementing emerging technologies such as connected packaging solutions. These provide advancements in consumer engagement (through AR), product track & trace capabilities and sustainability improvements within the supply chain.”

In the 2021-22 season, Smart Fingerprints were incorporated onto over 400,000 Reid Fruits cherry boxes, bound for 20 global markets. A significant number of those boxes were sent to China, one of the company’s largest export markets and also the destination where the Australian business has historically encountered significant counterfeit challenges.

A team mantra at Lavaa is: give them a reason to scan. Telling a story is interesting up to a point, but what is becoming more popular is the ability to win something, learn something new, or even receive things like awards and NFTs. But just putting a code on a box won’t get it scanned. You’ve got to give consumers a reason, says Laava (see also AIPIA Newsletter 27-10-21)

“Reid Fruits brand is a leader in the premium cherry market in Asia and is now leveraging Laava’s combination of brand trust, product traceability and digital storytelling capabilities,” added Ger.

This report appeared originally in PKN Australia and is published with their permission.

This article was created in collaboration with AIPIA (the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association). Packaging Europe and AIPIA are joining forces to bring news and commentary about the active and intelligent packaging landscape to a larger audience. To learn more about this partnership, click here.