Counterfeiting developed as a big business over the last few decades. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, the projected value of global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods in 2015 was $1.77 trillion. Gray market goods ranging from designer handbags to automotive parts to pharmaceuticals. No product is immune from the threat any longer.
Take, for example, over-the-counter and prescription medicine. The product packaging looked practically identical but had listed inaccurate ingredients or was missing information such as lot numbers, in recent cases of counterfeiting. Holograms will remain an authentication technology while radio frequency identification (RFID) technology will continue to see high growth rates. Product traceability systems, smart labels, and smart caps are also increasing in popularity to help track product safety and quality through the production process and supply chain (where counterfeiting can occur).
There are a number of other ways packaging design can help. Unique packaging can assist a brand in standing out on the shelf, as well as make it more difficult to counterfeit. Custom packaging that incorporates new materials or shapes is harder to replicate. Quick response (QR) codes, help with both counterfeiting and consumer engagement. To verify the manufacturer of a product and be directed to a brand owner’s website for more information, a customer scans a code with their smartphone. In this way, the brand can build consumer trust and has an opportunity to engage with a customer online.
Personalization To Counter Counterfeiting
In the pharmaceutical market, where an estimated 10% to 30% of drugs from developed markets are counterfeit, personalized packaging on medication is a growing option for manufacturers. Medication will come labeled to the individual with warnings based on the person’s medical history and existing medications. Produce the label and instructions in a larger font too for an easier read.
Color Consistency is Key
Getting color right on logos or brand packaging actually help to protect consumers from gray market copies. A Pantone Color Institute study found that 97% of adults will reach past the first product on the shelf. Over half of the respondents said they reach past the first product due to discoloration. In the same study, two-thirds of adults stated they question the quality of the product due to discoloration.
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