Meat products, especially beef, are one of the most stolen items in the United States, and supermarkets and grocery stores already have a thin retail margin. This rising problem is an ongoing challenge for Asset Protection (AP) and Loss Prevention (LP) professionals who quickly need to find security solutions. Understanding the reasons for the high theft and finding effective solutions to prevent it is more important than ever. 

Reasons for Rising Meat Costs

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for beef has continued to rise. Consumers are spending more time at home cooking and eating than in prior years. The increased meat consumption caused beef prices to rise.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic increased food prices by 3.3%. The price increase was caused by a 4.4% increase in meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. 

Additionally food prices are continuing to rise because of:

  • Decreased food production
  • Transportation interruptions 
  • Extreme weather 
  • Global demand 

Small Neighborhood Grills are Struggling 

The increased meat prices and lack of customers have made it difficult for small neighborhood grills to afford the new prices. In hopes of staying afloat, some grills have turned to buying stolen meat at a lesser cost to keep their doors open. 

Professional and Amateur Meat Thieves 

With meat costs rising, the product demand just grew more prominent. Understanding the why and how individual thieves and Organized Retail Crime (ORC) groups steal meat can help LP/AP professionals prevent this loss. 

ORC Groups 

Seeing a meat demand from small grills, ORC groups are taking advantage of the resell value for meat products. To easily steal large quantities of meat, ORC groups target supermarkets and grocery stores with flawed security systems, then quickly resell the meat to small grills. 

Amateur Thieves 

Additionally, amateur theft is on the rise because of the rising meat costs. They need to feed themselves and their families, because of the meat price (and perhaps lack of income), or a sense of entitlement they see theft as a viable option. 

EAS Security Systems for Frozen and Chilled Foods

Between individual thieves and ORC groups, LP/AP professionals are looking for quick and practical solutions to prevent meat theft. This is where Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology becomes a viable solution. EAS anti-theft labels help to provide professionals with an effective solution. 

Determining the Best Security Solution 

The EAS anti-theft label design fits the unique conditions on how chilled and frozen products are stored. The correct anti-theft label needs to be selected to ensure the meat and other products are safely secured.

Important product factors to consider when choosing an EAS anti-theft label include:

  • Product 
  • Product conditions 
    • Packaging 
    • Temperature 
    • Humidity 
  • Label location
  • Label application (in-store vs. source tagging) 
  • Shelf life or expiration date 

Anti-Theft Label Solution Options that will Reduce Meat Theft

There are multiple types of anti-theft labels available, and PPS will help you determine what is best for your needs. Finding a label design that will withstand cold and moist conditions over long periods is crucial to preventing theft. Unlike their competitors, users can easily apply Nedap’s labels to the frozen or chilled product without the risk of detuning or detaching.

PPS recommends Nedap’s EAS anti-theft label because the designs are available in different types of adhesive and different top layers to ensure optimal performance.

Labels for Automatic Application 

Nedap’s auto-apply label is the ideal option for applying the label during the packaging phase of production. The design allows the label to be “sandwiched” between the brand/product label and the packaging. 

PPS the Anti-Theft Label Solution Provider 

PPS can provide a line of superior intelligent article surveillance and RFID systems, including the EAS anti-theft labels. 

When searching for anti-theft labels to fit specific product needs, options include: 

  • Labels for deep-frozen products 
  • Waterproof labels for chilled products 
  • Paper labels for chilled products 
  • Auto-apply labels 

3 Loss Prevention Tips on Selecting Security Tags and Labels

Simply purchasing anti-theft labels won’t ensure a successful loss prevention strategy. Consider these three items when buying items and implementing a loss prevention strategy.

  1. How well can the security tags and labels be deactivated?
  2. How well can the EAS system detect the security tags and labels?
  3. How does the staff respond to alarms (quickly, efficiently, is there a protocol)?

The above items will show if the EAS alarm system in place is working efficiently. A flawed EAS alarm system will lower the store’s security and increase the risk of theft. 

Working with a Trusted, LP Partner 

PPS offers intelligent article surveillance and RFID systems. The PPS team guides their customers with excellent, trustworthy advice to help them find the best solution for their specific needs.

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

Improving Meat Security for Chilled and Frozen Products 

Download this white paper that describes the best ways to tag chilled and frozen meat products with EAS labels.

Download whitepaper