Is Using Custom Tamper-Evident Stickers Enough To Protect Your Products?

19 Apr, 2022
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Custom Tamper-Evident Stickers

Tampering – or the intentional modification of a product – is a severe issue that equally affects a range of industries, from the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector to the fashion industry and the pharmaceutical market.

Far from being just an annoyance, product tampering, as well as tampering attempts, is considered a crime in many countries, including the US and EU member states.

And, for more than a reason! If a product, including food, medicines, and cosmetics, is sabotaged or falsified, it can pose a threat for the consumer and affect a company’s reputation and profits. In the worst-case scenario, it can even lead to a fatal scandal and lead to costly market recalls.

So, investing in tailored tamper-proof solutions is clearly essential. But are tamper-evident seals and custom tamper-proof stickers enough to secure your products? Learn about the importance of finding a tailored solution in this guide by Authena.

How To Protect Packaging From Tampering?

Intelligent packaging to guarantee product authenticityProduct falsification, fraud, and counterfeiting represent a growing threat to today’s economy. Indeed, as the supply chain becomes further-reaching and more complex, companies are scrambling to find efficient, tailored, and automated solutions that allow them to guarantee product authenticity and prevent tampering.

Just in 2020, counterfeit goods caused businesses across a variety of industries losses greater than 50 billion euros. And today, product tampering – and potential market recall – represents the greatest profitability risks for the food industry as a whole.

However, protecting packaging from tampering still represents a great challenge for most businesses. Luckily, thanks to tailored smart packaging solutions, it is possible for companies to secure their products.

Smart packaging – or technology-enhanced packaging – uses a range of established and emerging technologies, including NFC labels, RFID tags, blockchain, and customized software for product authentication and tamper evident packaging.

Undeniably, investing in high-performance labels and seals to apply to your product packaging is important to prevent tampering. But these solutions alone – including cutting-edge NFC tags – are not enough to track your products’ journey through the supply chain and protect it against falsification and tampering.

Indeed, most labels work thanks to a linked platform or software that allows both consumers and manufacturers to be in full control of their products. Additionally, working with a product authentication expert at Authena is essential to identify your authentication needs, understand supply chain analysis, and ensure your smart packaging solution’s efficiency.

What Is a Tamper Resistant Seal?

So, product authentication solutions have two main components: a label or seal applied on the packaging and a product authentication software or platform. The two components interact with each other to guarantee the safety, efficiency, and privacy of the information exchanged.

But let’s look at the first component of a product authentication solution: tamper-proof seals. There are two main kinds of seals:

  • Tamper-resistant seals – these deter tapering by being more time-consuming and difficult to remove, thus making it harder for a potential fraudster to sabotage a product. However, if a tampering crime does take place, the seal might not necessarily carry tamper evidence of it.
  • Tamper-evident labels – these are virtually easier to remove than tamper-resistant labels, but any action taken to do so will leave clear visual evidence of to detect tampering attempt. While these stickers don’t actively protect the product’s integrity, they prevent the consumer from unwittingly using a tampered item.

What Are Examples of the Tamper-Evident Seal?

Now that you are aware of the differences between the two types of tamper-proof packaging solutions, let’s look at how they work in practice. Here are some examples of the two:

  • Tamper-resistant seals or stickers are commonly placed on the lid or opening of the product and include film wrappers, bubble wraps, tape seals, or breakable caps.
  • Tamper-evident seals might not add a level of difficulty in opening the product, but they’ll carry immutable evidence of tampering if an attempt takes place. Examples of these include shrink bands or seals that are destroyed in the tampering attempt and cannot be reapplied.

Some of the most common materials used in tamper-evident seals include:

  • Shrink bands
  • Induction seals
  • Tamper-evident tape
  • Overwrap
  • Tear away lids
  • Blister packs
  • Lidding films

New tamper-proof solutions – such as NFCs, geolocators, and customizable tags provided by Authena – offer digital-physical seals that allow both manufacturers and consumers to track a product’s journey throughout the supply chain, thus guaranteeing its authenticity.

How Do You Tell if a Seal Has Been Tampered With?

The best way to examine a traditional tamper-proof seal (like the ones seen above) is via visual analysis. After buying a product, make sure to check for signs of tampering, which, depending on the type of packaging in question, include:

  • Holes
  • Rips
  • Tears
  • Punctures
  • Swelling
  • Leakes
  • Bulges

Thanks to new and more efficient tamper-proof solutions, it is immediately visible whether a product has been tampered with. Just make sure to carry out a visual analysis and report anything unusual to the relevant authorities. While if your product adopts Authena ShieldTM technology, based on physical-digital tamper evident seals, there will be no need for any kind visual analysis, but only an instant tap of any smartphone to authenticate the product.

Why Do We Have Tamper evident Seals?

After a series of poisoning deaths caused by drug tempering – today known as the Chicago Tylenol Murders – in 1982, manufacturers across the globe felt the need to protect themselves, their products, and their consumers from tampering crimes.

However, since the introduction of federal laws requiring tamper-proof labels and induction seals, the field of tamper-proof packaging has evolved greatly. Today, many products – from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals, fragrances, foods, and drinks – are secured by tamper-proof labels.

What Is the Key Benefit of Tamper-Evident Labels?

The greatest and most obvious benefit of tamper-evident labels is that it causes any tampering attempt to leave immediately visible evidence. So, while the product might be sabotaged, the consumer will immediately be made aware of it and take measures to protect himself or herself.

However, a great range of advantages stems from this, including enhanced consumer experience, better buyer protection, improved brand reputation, and profit protection.

How Do NFC Authentication Tags Work?

NFC labels – or Near-Field Communication Tags – are a wireless, two-part technology that allows manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers to track and trace a product across the supply chain.

Thanks to tailored NFC tags, ad hoc software, and customized enabled devices, these security labels allow for a secure, real-time, and accurate exchange of information. Aside from enhancing Unit Level Traceability, NFC tags also:

  • Are engraved security seals, which makes them more difficult to be manipulated
  • Only allow an exchange of information within a 4cm range, which makes them incredibly secure
  • They are efficient product authentication tools because once torn are unusable

How Do NFC Authentication Tags Work

Partner With a Product Authentication Expert

While tamper-evident and tamper-resistant seals are useful tools to enhance your product’s authentication system, they cannot efficiently be used alone. NFC and RFID tags can enable manufacturers to track each item across the supply chain and guarantee authenticity, but only when coupled with tailored software and customized devices. That’s where partnering with a product authentication expert can help you better understand your needs and devise a tailored and efficient solution.

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