Friday November 26th 2021

Plastic pollution: New meat tray ‘could save tonnes of waste’

Plastic pollution: New meat tray ‘could save tonnes of waste’
New recyclable meat packaging tray, designed by a Syrian Swansea University student…

Alaa Alaizoki, who is studying for an engineering doctorate, has created a meat tray without a separate piece of absorbent plastic padding underneath. What’s more the technology could be used in other areas, such as nappies.

Meat Promotion Wales said consumers wanted to know that food was made in an “environmentally responsible way”. Considering that about 800,000 tonnes of UK meat packaging plastic waste is produced each year, with between 5% and 8% of this waste coming from the absorbent padding, the development of a potential alternative is important news.

In partnership with packaging manufacturers Klöckner Pentaplast, the design is already being used by leading UK food suppliers and retailers, including Sainsbury’s and Asda.

The meat tray is 100% recyclable and allows consumers to look at meat from all angles through clear plastic. Traditional padding works in a similar way to nappies or sanitary towels, by drawing in moisture and converting it into a gel, which cannot physically leak back out into the meat. However, this design allow a moisture into specially designed wells, but does not let it back out. The packaging can then be washed under a tap, meaning the plastic is chemically and biologically safe to be recycled along with other household items.

Alaa Alaizoki commented, “You can turn it upside down, shake it, drop it, but the physics of the fluid mean that until it’s flushed out there is no way of the juices escaping.”

The technology has only been patented for use in food packaging, but Mr Alaizoki said it could have many more uses. “Physics is physics, it doesn’t matter if it’s food packaging or any other product,” he said. “This has the potential to be used in nappies and sanitary products, which also currently go straight into landfill, and take thousands of years to break down with the current gel technology.”

Mr Alaizoki, a Syrian student, said he was pleased to be able to give something back to the country which took him in. “Swansea has supported my learning, and given me the opportunity for me to fulfil my potential. I have a wife and child here now, and it feels like home, even though the majority of my family are still back in Syria.”

Gwyn Howells, Chief Executive of Hybu Cig Cymru, Meat Promotion Wales said: “Consumers increasingly want to know that the food they buy is produced in as environmentally responsible way as possible. The lamb and beef sector in Wales is renowned for its non-intensive farming systems which are world leading in terms of sustainability; packaging innovations such as this can only help to deliver ever higher standards throughout the supply chain.”

Oxford Street: ‘Astonishing’ haul of fake items seized by police

Oxford Street: ‘Astonishing’ haul of fake items seized by police
Police have seized an “astonishing” haul of fake designer goods and illegal items in pre-Christmas raids in London’s Oxford Street…

More than 17,500 items were confiscated in Operation Jade, which saw four souvenir and sweet shops raided on Thursday night.

Officers took unsafe toys, counterfeit clothing, and incorrectly-labelled nicotine products off the street.

An unregistered food business also had 4,000 items removed. Two bags of food with higher than the legal limit of THC – the main psychoactive compound in cannabis – were also confiscated.

Heather Acton, from Westminster City Council, said shoppers needed to be able to trust the products they were buying from the busiest shopping street in London. “The quantity and variety of goods seized by our officers is astonishing,” she said.

“Many of these goods are unsafe and certainly unhealthy. From cheap imitations of fashionable products to mislabelled tobacco, and even psychoactive substances, it’s vital that we protect customers and get these products off the shelves.”
“This Christmas is make or break for many high street shops, and checking retailers will support legitimate businesses and protect the reputation of the West End as a leading destination for shoppers.”

Meanwhile, Trading Standards officers seized 11,000 goods and about 2,500 souvenirs from unregistered businesses and illegal street traders.

Health and safety officers also served three notices for unsafe electrical goods and poor safety standards within premises.


First stands released for ReTec Europe ’22 at NEC Birmingham

New format ‘a breath of fresh air’ for exhibitors and delegates alike, with more big names signing up…

Anticipation is already building around the new ReTec Europe retail technology and sustainability show. The event will take place on the 8th – 9th November ‘22 at the NEC, Birmingham.

For companies serving the retail sector, this is the best opportunity to pick up the very best locations and marketing bundles at the best prices.

Founder of event organisers Retail Knowledge, Paul Bessant commented “Even though the conference is 12 months away we already have bookings from significant players such as G4S. The point is, if you are looking for a great event, as a platform to engage with big retail at the end of the year, then there will never be a better time to book than now – before all the best locations have been snapped up and advertising space is at a premium. The longer you wait, the fewer your options there will be.”

The mainstream event takes place at the NEC, the spiritual home of retail, over two days. ReTec Europe was launched in response to calls from businesses serving the retail industry, as well as retailers themselves, for a more technology centric show than could be found elsewhere.

To enquire about stand availability and pricing, click HERE…

Corin Dennison to address Retail Risk – Sydney on 24th February 2022

Corin Dennison to address Retail Risk – Sydney on 24th February 2022
Get a global perspective on protecting your brand, IP, people and assets…

Corin is Director Global Profit Protection for a major German sports brand, with responsibility for all aspects of Retail Compliance & Profit Protection, overseeing a retail estate of 2,400 stores.

An inspirational speaker, Corin has worked with renowned brands, including Burberry and adidas aG.

He has helped them establish world-class global capabilities to protect their brands, IP, people and assets globally, including LATAM, APAC, Greater China, CIS, North America and Canada.

Corin believes that security can be used as an enabler, allowing senior stakeholders to make informed decisions. He is passionate about connecting with other brand leaders to share industry best practice.

His Global Profit Protection Team have recently won awards from OSPA & Retail Risk, and Corin is the LP Director of the Year 2019 awarded by Retail Risk. In 2020 he became a Director of Insight Retail Risk Consultancy and holds the CPP qualification from ASIS International.

Corin will be appearing at Retail Risk – Sydney, talking about his international experiences and explaining what specifically Australian Retailers can learn form them to stay ahead of the bad guys…

To register for Retail Risk – Sydney click HERE…


Reducing Returns Abuse without Sacrificing Customer Experience

Businesses can do many things to prevent customers from abusing returns policies without sacrificing customer experience…

For merchants, delivering a great customer experience (CX) has always been high on their list of priorities. It’s essential for fostering customer loyalty, and increasing top-line revenue.

A significant aspect of customer experience is how a merchant handles returns, as this can mean increased flexibility and convenience for consumers.

Recent Forter research points to this; 83% of consumers want businesses to provide free shipping for returns, and 80% are deterred when a retailer has inconvenient returns policies.

However, returns present a continuous dilemma for merchants: how can they be managed in a way that mitigates the chance of fraudsters taking advantage of the policies, without impacting CX? Fraudulent returns cost UK retailers over £3.7 billion per year, but only 17% have taken steps to address it.

Therefore, it’s essential that merchants prioritise fraud prevention, especially in combating fraudulent returns, helping them to identify legitimate customers from the fraudsters.

To get this balance right, merchants tend to add limitations to their policies to address the issue of returns abuse. For example, they might:

  • Shorten the window of time customers have to send back items.
  • Implement a stricter process for inspecting returned items.
  • Add restrictions to policies for refunds, reimbursements, and exchanges.
  • Create an evolving store returns “blacklist,” a list of customers who are no longer allowed to return items to the store.

Adding restrictions to policies can help reduce returns abuse, but it is often at the expense of customer experience. Also, brands with returns restrictions are less appealing to potential shoppers. Customers expect merchants to offer flexible and easy returns policies with few restrictions. Merchants shouldn’t limit themselves from offering flexible returns policies for fear of abuse.

Customer Experience Doesn’t Have to Be Sacrificed

Businesses can do many things to prevent customers from abusing returns policies without sacrificing customer experience, such as:

Allow 30 days for returns – 68% of consumers prefer a 30-day returns policy. This window of time helps deter policy abusers while ensuring good CX for most customers.

Look at every touch point – Merchants should look at all of the touch points of the customer’s journey, online and in-store. For example, the touch points for an online customer might include account sign up, user login, chatbot, checkout, and online returns portal. Businesses need to implement tools that analyse customer touch points and identify abuse  by observing the minute differences between the shopping behaviours of legitimate customers and those who commit returns policy abuse.

Detect hidden connections – Bad actors often use multiple email addresses to hide their true identities. They use fake identities to create hundreds, sometimes thousands, of new accounts. Merchants must uncover hidden connections between user accounts and detect when accounts are working together to abuse returns policies.

Implement real-time decisioning – Real-time decisioning allows businesses to enforce policies at every point of the customer journey – from account creation, to checkout, to initiating returns. It prevents bad actors or legitimate customers from placing orders to initiate excessive returns. And it allows good customers who have legitimate returns to make, to send items back to the merchant without having to jump through too many hoops.

Tailor the solution – Returns abuse looks different for every company. Some companies may be willing to take on more risk than others, and the level of abuse is not the same for every business. What works for one company may not work for another. Any returns process must be tailored to the needs of each unique business.

Merchants Must Prepare for a Sharp Increase in Returns

As we all know, we are in the middle of a global pandemic (COVID-19). With many brick and mortar merchants in the UK forced to close on 23rd March, this led to a surge in online shopping. The pandemic has led to a slew of returns policy changes, with some businesses not accepting any returns and others extending their returns period up to 90 days. Merchants should prepare for a rise in returns when stores begin to reopen, and footfall eventually increases, with customers combining online shopping with in-store returns.

As merchants look to streamline their shopping experiences as lockdowns are eased, prioritising customer convenience, they should be on their guard against abusers who will increasingly use multiple accounts to exploit these omnichannel offerings.
For example, the continuing spike in eCommerce activity could see a rise in ‘Item Not Received’ claims, whereby fraudsters file chargebacks with the merchant, claiming the items they have ordered were never received. In fraudulent cases, the item has indeed been shipped and received, but the abuser aims to reap the reward of both having received the item as well as getting reimbursed by the merchant for the ‘lost’ parcel. This abuse can result in sustained losses to the merchant, at a time when top-line revenue has been more important.

When it comes to handling returns during and after the pandemic, the best way forward depends on the type of business and the risk the business is willing to take. However, the path forward should include:

  • A system for evaluating customer behaviour and returns.
  • A variety of tools to identify abusers and to take action without hesitation.
  • Patience, because not everyone is looking to abuse returns policies.

Going forward, customer experience and expectations will remain extremely high. Therefore, merchants must continue to be flexible with customers by extending returns policies, offering targeted coupons/promotions, and being extra accommodating in their service.

However, it’s up to merchants to have the systems and partners in place to understand the impact of policy changes, to quickly adapt and update as necessary, helping them to address customer challenges or potential abuse.

Forter will be appearing at Retail Risk – Leicester 2021. For more details about the free to attend conference, click HERE…

Aaron Begner
EMEA General Manager


Collaboration against retail loss – on a global scale!

In 2022 Retail Risk celebrates its 20th anniversary! Join our Founder, Paul Bessant, at Sydney on 24th February for a global perspective on evolving retail risk over the last two decades…

Now the biggest risk management conference series in the world, Retail Risk conferences began 20 years ago as the Retail Fraud Show.

The idea behind the conference was to promote collaboration between retailers, as weaknesses in the system of one retailer would be used to learn how to exploit all retailers using that system.

Renamed the Retail Risk conference series eight years ago, the event is designed for sharing experiences whilst respecting commercial sensitivities, so that retailers can work together in fighting crime – and dealing with all the other risks faced by the business world.

For example, throughout the pandemic when normal in-person conferences were suspended, Retail Knowledge hosted virtual ‘coffee mornings’ with risk leaders who were able to discuss and compare strategies in real time as the crisis unfolded.

To mark Retail Risk’s 20th anniversary its Founder, Paul Bessant, will present to Retail Risk – Sydney with a unique global view of the risks faced by retail, past present and future.

Twenty years in the making, this is a presentation not to be missed!

To register click HERE…

IGCC: Woolworths among companies having net-zero claims scrutinised

IGCC: Woolworths among companies having net-zero claims scrutinised
Report studies 15 of Australia’s most carbon intensive companies…

Several large-scale company’s boards, including Woolworths’, have been targeted in the Investor Group of Climate Change’s new report as lacking the skills and experience to lead a transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The report studies 15 of Australia’s most carbon intensive companies, and provides guidance of what outcomes shareholders and investors want from net-zero ambitions.

“Climate change risk is still being seen by companies as a reputational or environmental risk, and not as a significant business or investment risk,” said the report’s lead author and researcher Ian Woods.

“[In our research], we found that many companies identified the need for climate skills on their board, but few identified broader transition and disruption expertise, and none were comprehensively disclosing on board skill sets.”

The fifteen focus companies reviewed are Adbri, AGL Energy, BHP, Bluescope Steel, Boral, Incitec Pivot, Oil Search, Orica, Origin Energy, Qantas Airways, Rio Tinto, Santos Limited, South32, Woodside Energy and Woolworths Group.

According to Woods, it’s hard for investors to form a complete view on how prepared these boards, and by extension these companies, are for the transition they are moving toward.

What investors want on a board, according to the report, are proven examples of leading through disruption and transitions, the ability to challenge existing business models, knowledge of climate change, and an ability to change management skills.

In addition, climate change needs to be fully integrated into the company’s strategies, executive remuneration needs to be tied to climate change targets and competing incentives must be removed, and lobbying, messaging and action need to be cohesive.

“We’re not seeing the progress we need from companies to instil investor confidence,” said IGCC’s director of corporate engagement Laura Hillis.

“We’re at a tipping point for the transition to net-zero emissions, [and] while promisingly many of the companies assessed for this report have set net-zero targets, it’s unclear… how prepared the boards of these companies are to lead the transition.”

Senior police officers attend the Fraud Awards 2021 – sponsored by WIS International

Effective collaboration with the police “essential…”

We are delighted to announce that DCC Alistair Sutherland will be presenting the very first Fraud Awards Retailer and Policing Collaboration Award.

Mr Sutherland will make the presentation at the Fraud Awards Gala Dinner on 2nd December at Leicester City FC’s King Power Stadium ‘The Home of Champions.’

The Retailer and Policing Collaboration Award is a new award that recognises “a collaborative effort between a retailer and the police that leverages their respective resources to produce an outstanding result, whether that be in the apprehension of criminals or prevention of crime.”

Entries are judged by an independent panel of judges made up of retailers and Superintendent Patrick Holdaway of the National Business Crime Centre.  This new Award is one of 15 categories of excellence for which awards are presented on the night.

The shortlist for the Fraud Awards 2021 Retailer and Policing Collaboration Award includes:

DPD Security Team – DPD Group Security Department
Next Warehouse & Distribution Team and Sergeant David Lockwood of (West Yorkshire Police)
Police Service Northern Ireland and Pulse Smart Hub
Project Zeal – Nottinghamshire Police, Mitie and Co-op
Safer Lewisham Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) – Safer Business Network
TSS & Boots UK

For a full list of all Fraud Awards categories and the shortlists click HERE…

Paul Bessant, Founder of the event organisers Retail Knowledge, commented

“We are delighted that DCC Sutherland will be presenting this inaugural award. Effective collaboration with the police is essential for all retailers in helping to effectively fight crime. The Fraud Awards recognise the best across a broad number of categories in our industry to inspire others to do even better. And we are indebted to our long time Fraud Awards sponsors, WIS International, for making it possible to provide our industry with such an important celebration of excellence.”

Superintendent Holdaway commented:

“The National Business Crime Centre are really pleased to be able to support this award. It provides a great opportunity for the police and retailers to highlight the many joint initiatives that take place to reduce crime and keep our retail environments, staff and customers safe.”

For more information about the Fraud Awards click HERE…

Paul Bessant talks to…

Robert Jennings – Fraud & Loss Prevention Director at Currys

Swapping pills for tablets…

With a career spanning almost 40 years, Robert regards himself first and foremost as a retailer. However, throughout his retail career he has worked in a wide variety of roles.

Having “fallen in” to pharmacy, he then undertook projects in store management, estates management and finance before morphing into the loss prevention roll for Boots, where he stayed until 9 years ago. Then he “swapped pills for a different type of tablet and joined Currys.

Robert is known for his progressive attitude towards loss prevention, often being in the vanguard of adopting new technologies to fight crime. This was certainly true of his early recognition of the potential for data mining and analytics.

Perhaps it is his varied background that provides a basis for a unique perspective on what is coming next. Whatever the reason, this is a terrific interview with an experience retailer, with much to inform and stimulate the thin king of the inquisitive.

Click below to watch the interview.

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