Whether companies want to admit it or not, product counterfeiting is a huge and growing problem. The global value of counterfeit goods runs to $1.5 trillion per year and is increasing at a rate of 3 percent annually, according to estimates from PMMI, the association for packaging and processing technologies.
And it’s not just luxury goods or pharmaceuticals that are at risk. Robert Ryckman, vice president of market development for the labeling company CCL Industries and who has been working on product security for 20 years, has seen cases of counterfeiting that involved products worth only a dollar. As for why fraudsters would bother with low-value items, it’s a matter of expedience. It’s easier to produce a tube of fake toothpaste or shampoo than a fake luxury item. Plus, consumers are less likely to be suspicious of cut-rate toiletries than of severely discounted Rolex watches or Coach bags.