Security label to combat supermarket meat thefts

A  security label which deters the theft of high-value meat cuts from supermarkets has begun to attract international attention after being rolled out in New Zealand.

The Integrated EAS Thermal Scale Label developed by Australasian printer Hally Labels uses a “keyhole” concept to allow the priceweight label on the meat cut to remain at its original size while an EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance label) is placed on the reverse.

A thick proprietary liner is used and a hole cut that is large enough for the EAS label to be placed inside. The thick liner allows the whole label to be thermally printed directly over the area where the EAS label is applied.

Importantly, butchery departments can use their existing labelling equipment to apply the label, and it does not give away the fact that it is security-tagged.

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The labelled product (with the EAS label hidden under the price weight label) is placed in the retail cabinets as normal. When the product is taken to the exit points of the stores, if the EAS label has not been deactivated (a process that happens when the barcode is being scanned) an alarm will sound alerting store security.

Theft of butchery items is a major issue with the supermarkets. Often meat is stolen to order for sale on the black market. In recent times we have seen a growing trend towards high-value fresh food as more premium product options are being retailed e.g. grass-fed beef, value-added meals etc.

The labels went into full commercial use last year with Foodstuffs the early adopters of the solution. Trials have been conducted at other supermarket chains across New Zealand with strong interest from Australia as well.


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