Meat theft isn’t new to supermarkets and grocery stores. As shoplifting increases, millions of pounds of beef, pork, and veal are disappearing from retailers’ shelves. This leaves Asset Protection (AP) and Loss Prevention (LP) professionals searching for viable and effective options, which is proving to be a big challenge.

Shoplifting Increases on Meat Products 

For the last few years, there’s been an increase in meat theft, and those numbers are rising. According to Heather Garlich of the Food Marketing Institute, “We’ve been witnessing a steady increase in the theft of meat at retail for the last several years.

[We know] from anecdotal discussions with our food retail and wholesale members, meat and health and beauty aids are indeed the highest-ranked products for theft.”

As this trend continues, AP/LP professionals need to adapt quickly to deter this theft. 

Why Are Meat Products So Attractive to Individual Shoplifters?

The rising costs of meat have led to increased shoplifting from individuals and Organized Retail Crime (ORC) groups. The article “Why Meat Theft is on the Rise” examines meat theft and reasons why ORC groups target those products. Still, it’s necessary to explore why individual thieves are on the rise too. 

Barbara Staib of the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention said, “7 out of 10 shoplifters don’t plan their heists in advance. There are certainly organized professionals, but most shrinkage comes from regular individuals.” 

There’s a common assumption that if an individual steals food, it’s because they need to feed themselves or their families. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in most situations.

High-Quality Meats  

Most stolen meat products are high-quality and high-cost products like lamb chops, filet mignon, or Angus beef. Dr. Read Hayes of the Loss Prevention Research Council said, “Most theft is greed, not need. They (shoplifters) certainly don’t need the steak, but they talk themselves into self-justifying the behavior. It’s a big corporation; they charge too much; everyone does it.”

Prosecution Options

Although it might be easier to apprehend individual thieves instead of ORC groups, prosecuting the thieves is still difficult to attain. Many police departments lack the staffing and cannot arrest everyone who steals $20 in meat products. In fact, in Dallas, Texas, thieves aren’t prosecuted if they steal less than $50 of meat.  

How Can Grocery Stores Prevent This Theft?

With rising meat costs and lack of prosecution arrests, supermarket and grocery store AP/LP professionals are dealing with an uphill battle looking for a solution. 

What Solutions Don’t Work

Typical loss prevention security measures like safers, alarms, or pins are not viable options for securing chilled and frozen meat products. 

Some supermarket and grocery store retailers hire security guards, train staff, or even hire special investigators to watch for suspicious behavior, especially in the meat sections. Unfortunately, that’s not an effective long-term solution because even though high-quality meat is preferred, thieves will steal anything that fits their needs. 

What Solutions Will Work

AP/LP professionals are looking for out-of-the-box options for security measures, specifically using technology. This is where Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology becomes a viable option to safely and effectively secure chilled and frozen products. 

Innovative EAS anti-theft labels can:

  • Withstand refrigeration and freezing temperatures
  • Are microwave-safe 
  • Conforms with health and sanitation standards 

How to Determine the Best Labels to Use?

It’s important to remember that not all EAS labels are created equal. It’s beneficial to understand the needs of the specific product to ensure efficient security. Consider the following when determining which EAS labels to use.

Ask the following questions:

  • What product needs to be secured?
  • What type of packaging is used?
  • What is the storage temperature?
  • What is the storage humidity?
  • What is the product’s shelf life or expiration date?
  • Where will the label be applied (in-store or source tagging)?

EAS Anti-Theft Label Options 

After answering the above questions, it’s easier to find the most effective label solution. Nedap offers different types of adhesives and top layer options depending on the product’s needs. 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’ 

Label options include:

  • Labels for deep-frozen products
  • Waterproof labels for chilled products
  • Paper labels for chilled product
  • Auto-apply labels (applied during the packaging phase)

Learn More 

Download the white paper on “Improving Meat Security for Chilled and Frozen Products” to learn more about EAS tagging options for meat products. 

Are You Ready for Loss Prevention Success?

Product Protection Solutions (PPS) is a preferred supplier for intelligent article surveillance and RFID systems. PPS focuses on filling in the gaps created by traditional retail loss prevention solutions.  

Contact PPS Team using the online form or by phone at 888-542-3065.