The BFFF have recently received the following advice from colleagues at the National Food Crime Unit:
The rise in the cost of living, with its multiple causal factors, is the biggest theme affecting food businesses and consumers. We are aware that businesses are continuing to face rising energy costs affecting aspects such as production, refrigeration, drying and transport whilst simultaneously facing raw material supply chain disruption and price increases. We are also observing shifts in consumer shopping habits with a greater focus on affordable staples and, for example, cheaper proteins. Cost of living pressures may mean consumers – and businesses – are even more attracted by competitively priced products than usual.
Businesses are urged to remain vigilant to risks within their supply chains, such as product specification divergence during these times. Offenders may exploit opportunities linked to stages in production where costs can be cut, or financial gains can be maximised. Vulnerable areas may include refrigeration and heating costs, waste disposal processes and sourcing of alternative raw ingredients.
Businesses should do as much as they can to ensure products have full traceability and are what they claim to be, to ensure that they and their consumers are protected from deception. Where this vigilance uncovers suspicious behaviours, questionable product quality or other matters of concern which may point towards fraud, businesses are encouraged to explore this further and to report this to the NFCU.
To report a food crime call Food Crime Confidential: 020 7276 8787 or email: email@example.com .
An online confidential reporting tool can also be found here