Traceability and Authentication Forum pledge for zero counterfeiting

Leading India’s fight against counterfeiting for many decades, The Authentication Solution Providers' Association (ASPA) has taken on the ambitious challenge of targeting zero counterfeiting in India. ASPA in association with Messe Frankfurt India hosted the fifth edition of the flagship Traceability and Authentication Forum on 6 and 7 July in Delhi to encourage and nurture traceability, authentication and anti-counterfeiting ecosystem in the country.

07 Jul 2023 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

ASPA, in association with Messe Frankfurt India, hosted the fifth edition of the flagship Traceability and Authentication Forum on 6 and 7 July in Delhi

The association has rolled out a five-year strategy from 2022-2027, to become a global industry voice in the authentication and traceability ecosystem. And the Traceability and Authentication Forum is an important part of the strategic movement. 

In spite of so many drastic changes in the market and technological advancements, the underbelly of counterfeiting and illicit trade is constantly causing huge losses to not just the Indian economy but the world. 

A recent consumer perception study done by ASPA and CRISIL revealed that counterfeiting constitutes almost 25-30% of the market (State of Counterfeiting in India 2022). It is most prevalent in key sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agri-products, apparel, automotive, FMCG, and consumer durables, among others. This itself shows how this demands the immediate attention of all stakeholders and a national strategy to curtail the loss to the economy due to these illicit activities.  

Urvashi Prasad, senior director, NITI AAYOG graced the occasion as the guest of honour and Susanta Singh, JS, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, was the chief guest.

Representatives from private sector companies like Marico., DS Group, Goldiee Group, Mother Dairy, Pfizer, Ashok Leyland, Mankind, Ford, Polycab, Jockey, Dhanuka Agritech, FMC, Kapiva, Godfrey Philips, Cyrstal Crop Protection shared insights during the forum.

Nakul Pasricha, president, Authentication Solution Providers' Association (ASPA), said, "On the occasion of the momentous 75th Independence Year, ASPA commits itself to the vision of zero counterfeiting. Counterfeiting and illicit trade are one of the biggest challenges in the country’s economic well-being and eroding precious resources. It is also undermining consumer rights. While on one side the country is making great progress in technology innovation and advancements, on the other hand, criminals are using the technology to create new ways of duping consumers into buying inferior, ineffective and even harmful products in copycat packaging. Criminals have become so smart in using technology and taking advantage of low awareness levels that nearly 27% of the consumers were unaware that the product was counterfeit at the time of purchase.”

He added, “The existence of counterfeit products according to consumer perception is pegged at 25-30 percent. But what is more astonishing is that around 89% of consumers acknowledge the presence of fake products in the market still 31% willingly purchase counterfeit products. This is how much the consumers undervalue their rights. Apparel (31%), FMCG (28%), and automotive (25%) are the top segments where consumers came across a counterfeit product, followed by pharmaceuticals (20%), consumer durables (17%), and agro-chemicals (16%). Even after discovering the product is fake, consumers take close to negligible action about reporting it.”

Pasricha added, “Though some measures are being taken by the government, especially in the pharmaceutical space and responsible brands are investing in product protection solutions, still to bring about an effective change the country needs to have a national strategy to curtail circulation of counterfeits and illegal products. Without nurturing and encouraging the traceability, authentication and anti-counterfeiting ecosystem in the country and focusing on creating widespread awareness in consumers this fight against fakes will not be effective. The Indian traceability and authentication industry has effective solutions available but we require a positive push for widespread adoption.”