Fighting the 40 billion food fraud to protect food supply

01 February 2016

Food safety has been an issue in recent years, from the powdered baby milk formula contaminated with dangerous levels of melamine to horse meat sold as beef. The incidents caused considerable reputational damage to a range of firms, costing billions. In total, PwC estimates that food fraud costs the global food industry up to $40 billion a year. In a bid to help companies identify fraud in their supply chain, SSAFE, PwC and two university partners have developed a food supply chain vulnerability tool aimed at providing an initial means to mitigate and inhibit fraudulent activity.

SSAFE was founded in 2006 with the aim of engaging public private partnerships to bring improved food safety standards globally through internationally recognised food protection systems. The organisation itself is not-for-profit and is supported through its membership and partner structure. Partners include the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Rome and the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

Partners developing a food supply chain vulnerability tool

The dangers of food fraud remain a key risk in the wider food supply chain. The effect of fraud has been seen in a number of international incidents, from the use of plastic in baby feed in China, to the sale of contaminated horsemeat in the European market. These, and many undisclosed incidents, may cause considerable health or emotional damage, while lining the pockets of fraudsters. According to PwC’s research, food fraud in the wider supply chain affects consumer confidence and is estimated to cost the global industry $30 to $40 billion a year.

Many of the world’s food supply chains are not well set up to deal with potentially fraudulent activity. The simplest foods may now require input from thousands of suppliers around the world, increasing the number of vectors for fraudulent activity. Tackling the incidence of such fraud has seen SSAFE work with PwC, as well as the University of Wageningen RIKILT and the Vrije University of Amsterdam, to develop a tool that helps organisations recognise weaknesses in their wider supply chains in which fraudulent activity may be taking place.

The tool involves 50 questions that help to identify where vulnerabilities exist, as well as provide details of how to meet the new requirements of GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) recognised certification schemes. The tool covers an organisation’s potential vulnerability to fraud at an ingredient, product, brand, facility, country or company-wide level.

Fighting the 40 billion food fraud to protect food supply

“Beyond the economic cost, food fraud can harm public health and damage consumer trust. Food frauds, such as horse meat being passed off as minced beef or the addition of melamine in dairy, have increased the urgency with which the food industry is taking action,” comments Craig Armitage, PwC’s Global Leader of Food Supply and Integrity Services. “The global food industry is calling time on fraud. With the use of our freely-available online tool it will put food companies in a stronger position to identify vulnerabilities and give consumers greater confidence in the safety of their food.”

“By clearly understanding the conditions and situations that provide fraudsters with opportunities, companies can target resources and actions to detect and prevent food fraud before affected products reach consumers,” adds SSAFE Executive Director Quincy Lissaur. “Collaborating with PwC, who has a strong tradition of helping companies manage risks and improve processes, greatly improves the proposition and reach of this tool.”


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Red Consultancy helps Hendrick's to launch new gin

09 April 2019

Red Consultancy has been signed up by Hendrick’s to help launch the famous distiller’s new limited edition gin. The consultancy collaborated with Hendrick’s to install floral phone boxes across UK cities, which presented entrants with free samples to the Midsummer Solstice drink.

Britain’s gin industry is now worth well over £1.2 billion – having more than doubled in size since 2011. With little sign of the industry’s boom going bust any time soon, demand for the trendy spirit has led to a boom in the number of businesses centring on either distilling or selling the spirit, with a growing number of ‘gin palaces’ doing both.

As UK distillery Hendrick’s Gin looks to prepare for another busy Summer, the company has launched its first ever limited-edition gin – Midsummer Solstice – with flower obliterations up and down the country. In order to help promote the new product to a wide audience, Hendrick’s enlisted the help of Red Consultancy, which began working to launch Midsummer Solstice following a competitive tender process earlier in 2019.Red Consultancy helps Hendrick's to launch new ginRed Consultancy’s efforts eventually led to a number of experiential, floral phone box portals being unveiled across London, Brighton, Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool to mark the launch of the campaign. Curious consumers who entered the floral phone boxes were gifted with a first taste of the new gin – either with a ‘Stem for a Serve’ redeemable at a local bar or in the tasting room of the London’s Soho Square launch.

Commenting on the campaign, James Taylor, Senior Brand Manager at Hendrick’s Gin commented, “The floral transformation of the once forgotten phone box are the perfect space to create a sensorial portal to our unusual brand world and transport curious minds back to simpler, less-connected times before social media and mobile technology transformed the way we communicate. A space where you can stop, literally smell the roses, and consider your true meaningful connections – the perfect way for us to celebrate the launch of Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice with a disruptive activation.”

The gin itself is already available at Waitrose, and will become available throughout the summer. Its public relations launch will be further supported by paid social media and in-store activity throughout that time, before its limited run comes to an end.

Red Consultancy is a professional services firm which offers advisory services to clients looking for PR, digital and content expertise via its 140 staff in its Soho offices. The firm develops and manages campaigns, runs major press offices, and steers brands and businesses through engagement with media, consumers, customers, stakeholders and internal audiences both domestically and internationally.

Recently, the firm was involved in a campaign with smartphone maker Huawei, helping it promote its AI-driven completion of Schubert’s famous Unfinished Symphony.