Where’s The Beef?

Where’s The Beef? Stolen, According to CBS News

Asset Protection (AP) and Loss Prevention (LP) professionals in the grocery vertical would not be too surprised to learn that meat, beef in particular, is one of the most stolen items in supermarkets today. But AP and LP professionals in other retail segments are likely baffled at this statistic. After all, concealing large quantities of meat is not an easy feat when one considers how fragility of the packaging.

Meat in the World of ORC

It may also be shocking to some that meat has been a favored target of professional boosters. Unlike the black market paths that ORC products typically follow (booster to fence, fence to repack operation), meat takes its own journey down the seemingly endless thievery trails. With meat theft, the meat is stolen in large quantities and immediately sold to independently owned markets, bars and restaurants. To add color to this, consider the recently reported theft case in Memphis, TN. In that case, Mekoe Suggs was charged with allegedly stealing between $60,000 and $250,000 worth of meat from his employer. The investigation was initiated after $90,000 of meat was discovered missing after an inventory cycle.* Although no information was provided that explained exactly what Suggs allegedly did with all of that stolen product, it is highly unlikely for it not to have been illegally distributed to area businesses for resale.

With beef prices climbing more than 26% just in the last 5 years with no end in sight, buying stolen meat has become the only saving grace for some small, neighborhood grills. In addition to large scale professional thefts, it has been reported that even amateur theft is on the rise. Amateur theft, by definition, is the theft of merchandise for personal consumption. With the high costs of beef, some have turned to theft to help feed their respective families.

Armed with this knowledge, the best and the brightest are looking for solutions to stop the bleeding, and with the food industry’s well known razor-thin margins, preventing meat theft has never been a more urgent task.

EAS Protection

Continuing down the line of surprising information, some may be interested to learn that Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology has made its way to meat theft protection. This may be difficult to imagine since the first image that comes to an AP or LP professional’s mind during an EAS discussion is a standard hard tag with a pin backing. But when dealing with solutions providers who are truly engrained within the AP and LP industry, technological solutions are timely.

nedap meat label mock image for email.png

The Nedap Advantage

Nedap Retail is one of those solutions providers deeply engrained in both the art and science of protecting assets. And with their superior technological background, meat theft prevention has been one of their most successful accomplishments.

Chilled and frozen products such as meat, fish and cheese are bestsellers in food retail, but as discussed, they are also extremely popular with shoplifters. Therefore, Nedap offers special labelling solutions to help food retailers protect these targeted products from being stolen.

When securing chilled and frozen products, it is essential to choose an EAS label that is fit for the environmental influences. To ensure the best performance, it is not only relevant to consider the actual product and the packaging, but also where the label is applied and under which conditions. Key factors to determine which EAS label to use on chilled or frozen products are:

  • Product
  • Packaging
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Label application (In-store vs. At-source)
  • Shelf life / expiration date

Depending on these factors, Nedap offers different types of adhesive and different top layers to make sure that the EAS label performs at its best. The labels are designed to withstand cold and moist conditions over longer periods of time and can be applied close to the actual product without the risk of detuning or detaching, which is a main concern with Nedap Retail’s competitors’ products. Options include:

  • Labels for deep frozen products
  • Waterproof labels for chilled products
  • Paper labels for chilled products
  • Auto-apply labels

The auto-apply label is applied at source during the packaging phase. These are especially designed for automatic application and can be “sandwiched” between the brand/product label and the packaging.

Label Deactivation & Detection

Key factors to consider when determining label quality are how well they can be deactivated and how well they can be detected by the EAS antennas. In fact, the effectiveness of each EAS solution is determined by the quality of the three key elements:

  • The label on the product
  • The deactivator at the POS
  • The EAS antenna at the checkout or the store exit

If any of these elements are not performing well, the effectiveness of the EAS system is significantly lowered, as there is a high risk that there may be no alarms or false alarms.

For more information about Nedap Retail’s meat protection solutions, click here. To discuss how you can give your products the best protection or take a look at Nedap’s complete label and tag portfolio and other loss prevention solutions, click here.

About Nedap Retail

Nedap’s retail loss prevention products include electronic article surveillance, RF EAS systems, RFID EAS systems, Customer-Counting, and Retail Store Access Control systems.  Nedap’s retail solutions are based on intelligent identification and registration of people, animals and objects, or on innovative, ‘green’ electronic controls and power supplies. Innovation is driven by clients’ operations: systems are developed and adapted to optimize clients’ production and information processes.

Nedap brings 40 years of global experience, market expertise and close cooperation with leading retailers. Everything Nedap Retail does is driven by their mission to make it simple for retailers to always have the right products available. To achieve this, Nedap Retail offers industry-leading solutions for their customers’ diverse needs in loss prevention and stock management. For more information, visit Nedap Retail’s website: http://www.nedapretail-americas.com/.


– http://www.nedap-retail.com/solutions/source_tagging/tags_en_labels/labels/meat_fish_and_cheese.aspx

– http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/33660083/man-charged-in-elaborate-meat-theft-ring

– http://time.com/money/4099524/meat-beef-prices-stealing-theft/

Why Not All EAS Systems Are Created Equal

As with a lot of other things, when it comes to surveillance equipment, not all systems are created equal.

In an age of the Cloud, the Internet of Things and Big Data, companies must take steps to systemize their operations in a measurable way. And that requires turning away from outdated technology and embracing new advancements.

Compared to other technologies, such as the aforementioned cloud computing, loss prevention technologies have made remarkably little progress in the past decades. Analog and electronic-based tools are still prevalent in most retailers across the country.

These archaic surveillance methods leave much to be desired. Their inherent lack of intelligence, analytics and integration makes it easy for theft to occur — from casual shoplifters to organized retail thieves.

Each of these aspects plays an important role in the imbalance of equality.

Electronic-Based Systems Lack Intelligence

Electronic-based EAS systems are ineffective because they rely on your employees’ motivation to test and monitor them to prevent theft. According to a study by Hayes and Blackwood, only 60% of EAS pedestals were able to read products with a soft tag inside — and even more shockingly — in 91% of stores visited, there was no form of acknowledgment by any person in the store when an alarm was activated!

When an alarm sounds, theft prevention depends entirely on whether someone chases down the customer and asks them to open their bags. If this doesn’t happen, people learn they can steal things from the store without repercussions.

Meanwhile, no data gets communicated or stored into your ERP. This leaves you lacking insight into potential weak areas. What if you knew that more thefts occur during peak hours in the middle of the week? You could increase your staff accordingly. Or which item was stolen, so you could replace the floor model in order not to lose more sales.

But you don’t.

Relying on an electronic-based system creates gaps where items get lost or stolen, and no one knows about the losses until the next inventory audit. It’s simply not an efficient way to run your business in today’s society.

You Cannot Measure, Analyze or Report On Anything With Electronic-Based Systems

Measuring, analyzing and reporting are critical factors to the success in today’s extremely competitive retail world. But electronic-based surveillance systems do not provide these capabilities.

You can’t get any insights into the performance and health of your security systems. You can’t see how your customer dwell times and peak shopping times play a part in your security strength.

Instead, you’re left guessing and hoping that your protocols and technology work.

And this inequality is another area that makes software-based solutions stand out. Modern surveillance systems are equipped with retail analytics that allow you to:

  • Monitor store locations remotely.
  • Access vital information 24/7 from the web or mobile device.
  • See real-time analytics, reporting and dashboards on loss prevention performance.
  • Benchmark and compare all stores within your organization.

This level of monitoring allows you to start focusing on what really matters.

Electronic-Based Systems Do Not Integrate With Other Systems

In the era of big data, it’s important that all your solutions communicate with one another. This helps to keep everything aligned, systemized and unified.

With software-based solutions, you get access to a complete suite of integration technology. Processes such as enterprise resource management, warehousing, point of sale systems, staff planning and customer relationship management can all work alongside your loss prevention solution. This opens the door of opportunity for a wealth of knowledge and insight.

On the other hand, electronic-based solutions cannot communicate and integrate with other technologies at all which keeps it isolated from other valuable information.

Having solutions interconnected helps them reinforce each other and gives you valuable insight. It’s a win-win situation that you just can’t achieve with electronic-based systems.

Are You Ready for Software-Based Solutions?

More and more retailers will turn to software-based systems in the coming years. It’s the only logical pathway along this journey of technological advancement.

If your company isn’t thinking about the future, it will get stuck in the past. And that will not only lead to an increase in shrinkage but will do immense damage to the entire infrastructure.

It’s time. Start making plans to pitch a loss prevention upgrade to the C-Suite at your company. They’re the biggest thing standing in the way of your vision.

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