Chilled and frozen meat products require unique security solutions that traditional standard solutions do not offer. Millions of pounds disappear each year. As meat theft continues to rise, finding effective and efficient security solutions is vital.
This white paper provides tagging options for dedicated electronic article surveillance (EAS) labels to help determine the best security solution and reduce meat losses.
How to Determine the Best Label to Use?
Researching and determining the best EAS label to use for chilled and frozen meat products can be a time-consuming task. Understanding the meat product journey from label application to shelf life to scanning to the consumer can make the selection process easier.
Read below to learn about each of the product journey phrases. It explains the importance and the various outcomes for label selections.
Product Journey Phase 1 – Label Application
The first phase in the meat product journey is the label application process. To be assured that the best EAS label is selected (best deactivation and detection function), consider the package’s environmental influences and the proximity of the label to the actual product.
1. Environmental Influences
To make sure the label performs its best, take into account the storage conditions for the product. There are different types of EAS labels to select from, and the storage conditions will determine the best label.
Before selecting the label, determine the following criteria:
- Environmental temperature
- Product’s location – in-store or at source
In-store product storage conditions are humid and have a low temperature which causes condensation to develop on the packaging. Be sure to select the EAS label that can handle extra moisture without sliding off the package.
At Source Tags
Standard EAS labels work well for at source conditions, most of the time, since the product’s environment is controlled (no condensation) and the label is applied post packaging.
2. Label Proximity
If EAS labels need to be applied close to the actual product, it’s advised to select a less sensitive label option. Standard EAS labels are easily detuned and can cause a weaker signal to the EAS antenna.
Product Journey Phase 2 – Shelf Life
The next phase in the product journey is determining the shelf life of the product. The longer the shelf life, the more moisture the packaging will attract.
Products with a long shelf life in chilled moist conditions consider selecting RF labels due to their moisture resistance. Deep frozen products typically have an even longer shelf life than chilled products, so consider using tags with a strong stick adhesive. The standard EAS labels aren’t able to withstand low temperatures over an extended period.
Product Journey Phase 3 – Point of Sale and Scanning Speed
Guaranteeing fast and efficient checkout procedures will improve customer satisfaction and repeat business. Make sure the EAS labels perform well with the point of sale EAS system during the label scanning and deactivation process.
Deactivation and Scanning Speed
When labels work with the EAS system, the results are fast, customer-friendly checkouts. EAS labels need to withstand a high scanning speed of up to 45 deactivations per minute.
This is to ensure there is no delay during scanning procedures. When labels need additional scanning time, error rates increase and lead to increased checkout times.
Product Journey Phase 4 – The Consumer
Consumer safety must be met when selecting EAS labels. Regarding safety, labels need to be certified for food application and follow food safety management protocols. Since labels for meat packages aren’t applied directly onto the food item, labels need to be certified for indirect food
Additionally, the product packaging needs to attract consumers to the product and inform them of security warnings and product instructions.
Label Design/ Product Appearance
The first decision is to determine whether to have a visual deterrent label showing the product is secured or a label that blends in with the packaging. The second decision is to choose the label design.
Label designs can include a:
- Brand or Marketing Message– It doesn’t look like a security label, and retailers can design it to their specifications.
- Dummy Barcode
- Invisible (Auto Apply Label) – Apply the tag under the brand or price label.
- Warning Message – This shows the product has security protection.
- White or Black
Many chilled and frozen meat products are cooked in the microwave oven for a quick meal. These time-efficient products cause many consumers to cook the item without reading warnings or instructions. Since some EAS labels aren’t microwave-tested, they can cause accidents and damage to the consumer and their home. Those accidents can lead to claims against the retailer.
Retailers should only use microwave-tested labels with an official test report (from an independent test institute) and a clear warning message on the label for these specific products. This will allow the retailers to show they did everything within their power to protect their consumers.
Finding the Right Solution
Understanding the product’s storage requirements will help ensure retailers apply the correct EAS label to the item. Unlike traditional standard soft labels, chilled and frozen meat products require unique security solutions because of storage demands.
To make the best label decision, review the products:
- Storage conditions
- Shelf life
- Scanning and deactivation speed
- Targeted consumers
Know Where to Buy
Each retailer has its own needs, challenges, and goals. Choosing to work with a trusted loss prevention partner who takes the time to understand those needs can increase loss prevention success.
Product Protection Solutions (PPS) provides their customers with complete, custom, and technologically advanced loss prevention solutions to fit their specific goals.
Learn how PPS can help! Contact PPS using the online form or by phone at 888-542-3065.