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Winemakers must do more to tackle counterfeit wines – QR codes might be solution

May 22, 2013

Winemakers should act now to prevent fraudsters creating counterfeits of their products, according to Geert de Vries of KPMG.

Speaking today at the London International Wine Fair 2013 at ExCeL, London, de Vries, who works for KPMG’s risk services unit, said counterfeit alcohol costs the industry about £1 billion a year and accounts for up to 8% of all global beverage sales. The threat is only going to grow, he added.

With Brussels considering introducing new laws by 2020 requiring every bottle of alcohol to carry a unique code, he urged the industry to take action now.

De Vries said: “We can be sure that it [legislation] will come as it is the only way to deal with illicit trade.”

He added that by tackling fraud now, the drinks trade can not only save money but, far more importantly, can avoid reputational damage.

However, de Vries added that using unique QR codes, which can be scanned by a smartphone, is a far better way of tackling fraud than using special inks or holograms on the label.

He said not only are the codes effectively impossible for fraudsters to counterfeit but they also allow manufacturers to pinpoint the area where illegal copies are being sold.

De Vries added that using QR codes will also allow wine companies to start a dialogue with their customers which can also prove an effective marketing tool.

He said: “Having dialogue with customers is incredibly important.”

Source: Harpers