How tamper evident packaging protects against counterfeit goods

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In a series of raids recently, police seized over 20 tonnes of fake branded items in the notorious Manchester “counterfeit street”, with an estimated value of £40m.

The word counterfeit often brings to mind high end luxury items, like designer handbags, clothing and watches, but the problem goes much wider. The range of goods available includes electricals, car parts, vapes, cosmetics, toys, pharmaceuticals and even baby formula. Consumers need to be on their guard when purchasing, which can be increasingly difficult with the ease at which third party sellers can trade in online marketplaces.

Counterfeiting isn’t just a consumer problem either. Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement, includes business-to-business products such as machines, chemicals or spare parts as subject to falsification.

tamer evident packaging

The growth of the counterfeit industry

Counterfeit goods are typically manufactured by individuals or organisations that aim to profit from their sale of fake products. Operating at different levels of sophistication, they range from small-scale operations to large, well-organised criminal networks.

In some cases, organised crime syndicates may be involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit goods. There is an underground economy devoted to copying and selling any conceivable product that you can think of including low value products like laundry detergent or soap.

The internet has increased the amount of counterfeit goods sold worldwide. The ease of setting up online marketplaces and the anonymity of online transactions have made it easier for counterfeiters to sell their goods. It’s also made it easier for counterfeiters to reach consumers in different countries.

This has led to an increase in the volume of counterfeit goods sold, as well as the types of goods being counterfeited.

The impact of counterfeit goods on the economy

This illicit trade not only translates to lost sales for legitimate businesses, but counterfeit goods may also pose health and safety risks to consumers, which can result in further costs to the healthcare system and other public services.

Counterfeit goods have a significant impact on the UK economy. According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the value of imported counterfeit goods worldwide was around $509 billion in 2016, representing 3.3% of global trade. The UK is among the countries that are heavily affected by the trade in counterfeit goods, with a reported value of around £13.6 billion in 2016.

tamer evident packaging

The risk of counterfeit goods to brands

Counterfeit goods can damage a brand’s reputation by diluting its value and authenticity.

Consumers who unknowingly purchase counterfeit products and do not have a positive experience with them, will have negative perceptions of the brand and it may impact product reviews, word of mouth recommendations and future sales.

Counterfeit goods can also result in a loss of revenue for brands, as counterfeiters often sell their products at a lower price than the genuine article. Stores offering fake products at a lower or indeed, bargain price, will win the sale, reducing potential sales on other platforms.

tamer evident packaging

How brands can protect their goods against counterfeiting with tamper evident packaging

Packaging plays a crucial role in protecting brands against the risk of counterfeit goods. So, not only does can protect your product from damage, but the right packaging materials can protect your reputation too!

You may hear people refer to tamper evident packaging or anti-counterfeit packaging. So, what is tamper evident packaging? It is packaging that has indicators or barriers to entry, which if breached can be expected to provide visible evidence to the end user that tampering has occurred.

In short anti-counterfeit packaging or These are specific products that are designed to highlight if someone has tampered with a package. But there are lots of different ways you can combat the risk of counterfeiting with packaging.

Here are packaging tips to consider: 

  • Think about branded packaging carefully – printed packaging with strong branding can make it difficult for counterfeiters to replicate. This includes using distinctive colours, logos, and fonts that are easily recognisable. Some brands choose to print their custom packaging on the inside only, so the exterior does not expose the contents of packages.
  • Complex or unusual packaging designs can be hard to replicate – packaging designs that are complex and difficult to reproduce can make it harder for counterfeiters to copy the product.
  • Design your packaging to include security features – this can include things such as holograms, or unique serial numbers. Alternatively, you can even include security folds into your cardboard box designs, to stop would-be thieves putting their hand in to parcels.
  • Tamper evident markers can help prevent interference – tamper-evident seals and labels will help to verify the authenticity of your product and make it more difficult to remove without tearing or marking the pack, rendering it unable to be reused.
  • Use connected packaging to track goods – connected packaging with tracking technology, such as RFID tags, which allow companies to monitor the movement of their products from the point of manufacture to the point of sale, makes it easier to detect any unauthorised diversion or tampering.
  • Help your customers spot a fake – educate your customers about the packaging and labelling of your products to make it easier for them to spot fakes.

Support with tamper evident packaging

At Macfarlane Packaging, we work with customers to ensure their branded packaging delivers the high levels of security and protection, helping to protect their product, their brand and their reputation.  

If you would like to find out more about our branded packaging solutions, contact us today.