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Cargill Foods India To Fight Counterfeiting

Neelima Burra, chief marketing officer, Cargill Foods India Ltd, said 'educating the consumers and our wholesalers is a must to beat this menace'

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Leading edible oil firm Cargill Foods India is launching a fight against counterfeit products.

Addressing the impact of counterfeiting in India, the company announced initiatives to combat the menace that has resulted in financial losses for Cargill.

It introduced anti-counterfeit technology in its cooking oil brand Gemini to fight against fake products, besides protecting brand image and revenues.

"We invested Rs 2 crore in this digitization process to clip the counterfeiter that has affected our business for 20%," says Neelima Burra, chief marketing officer, Cargill Foods India Ltd.

One of its popular regional brands, Gemini Cooking Oil is a market leader with 27% share in Maharashtra. To begin with, the initiative against counterfeiting has been launched on this brand.

Cargill Foods India, part of the US food major Cargill, will launch this technology in other brands from next month, such as Nature Fresh, Sweekar, Rath, Sunflower and Leonardo, as the company said that it witnesses 10-20 per cent business loss in smaller cities and rural markets due to fake products.

The edible oil market size is 21 million tonnes, out of which 6 million is organized while the rest 15 million is unorganized.

Counterfeiting in India is rising at an alarming rate, especially in the FMCG sector.

A report by FICCI-KPMG suggests that out of the total counterfeit market, 65 per cent is from this sector. "The edible oil industry is one of the most unorganized sector in terms of distribution in India, hence, it holds a larger risk of duplicity. Therefore, ensuring that the right product reaches the consumer becomes utmost important," Burra said.

"Purchasing a fake product brings loss to the business as well as may be a potential health hazard for the consumer. Counterfeiting is something Cargill Foods India takes very seriously as a fake product implies losing consumers’ trust. Educating the consumers and our wholesalers is a must to beat this menace. With Gemini Cooking Oil, we start our first step towards addressing this major issue of counterfeit goods,” Burra added.

In the commodity business, where brands play a vital role of defining the product differentiation, a counterfeit tarnishes the faith of a customer.

The study also points out about 80 per cent of the consumers are victims of deceptive counterfeiting, i.e. they buy fake goods in the belief of buying genuine ones. While consumers end up paying excessively for low quality products that could possibly have health and safety risks, producers risk damage to brand image.

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edible oils cargill india food and beverage cargill