New survey highlights role of serialisation in the fight against counterfeiting

Using serial codes on food packaging to prevent counterfeiting is likely to become more common, and many manufacturers would welcome it.

That’s one of the findings of an international survey of European and US firms by Mettler Toledo, a manufacturer of industrial scales and measuring equipment.

Their responses have been published by Mettler Toledo, and provide an insight into the current state-of-play across different industry sectors and indicate the value that companies put on serialisation when it comes to fighting ­product and brand piracy.

“From our research, one thing is quite clear: serialisation of products will grow,” said Reinhold van Ackeren of Mettler Toledo. “In some cases, such as the food sector, it has already become a significant area for investment outside of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry where it originated. Not only does serialisation help to protect against counterfeit products entering the market, but it can also secure against grey market sales and help identify breakdowns in the supply chain.”

According to the World Customers Organisation (WCO), counterfeits make up a total of around 7% of world trade. 

­While serialisation solutions cannot stop ­­counterfeiting, they are a powerful weapon in the fight against product and brand piracy.

Key takeaways from the ­survey results are:

  • A majority of the companies surveyed anticipate new serialisation requirements. A third of those surveyed would welcome legal requirements on serialisation for their own industry.
  • Large retailers could become key market drivers ­for serialisation solutions through ­requirements for their suppliers.
  • Companies consider the most important advantages of serialisation to be protection against brand and product piracy and greater transparency in the logistics chain.
  • A majority of those surveyed admitted that they or their industry were already affected by counterfeiting; a quarter of these respondents even reported massive disruptions.
  • There is a need for information as to what opportunities serialisation offers in the fight against counterfeits and unauthorised sales channels, as well as to what the limits of these solutions are.
  • When implementing serialisation, companies consider the total package, including hardware, software, and service. Flexibility and ease-of-use in software ­­­are particularly important to them.
  • Experience in serialisation projects ­that have already been implemented is a top priority ­when selecting a project partner.
  • The IT infrastructure required to manage serialisation data in the medium and long-term ­is­ frequently underestimated.
  • More information is needed on how end-to-end verification can be implemented at the product level with partners across the supply chain.
  • High implementation costs make it difficult to ­introduce serialisation solutions for ­products with a low price ­point.

The results of the survey are available now to download for free, from

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