RFID 24-7 recently reported that RFID is making big strides in Asia when it comes to product authentication for liquor and tobacco. In fact, NXP forecasts that 150 million bottles of wine and alcohol will be tagged in Asia this year alone.
Now comes an entirely new market – bird nests. Considered to be “the caviar of the East” in Asia, the BBC reports that manufacturers in Malaysia are tagging shipments of edible bird nests with RFID to fight off a thriving counterfeiting business for the pricy food items.
According to the BBC report, bird nests are coveted in China, where they are often added to soups. The nests, which are sought after for the saliva from the birds that inhabited them, are supposed to be good for skin complexion. The small shipping containers can be worth up to $1,000. It is not uncommon for some counterfeiters to add seaweed, for example, to the shipping container to increase its weight and the price fetched for the product.
Each bird nest harvest is sealed with an RFID tag that stores data about the shipment. At the store, consumers can authenticate the product through a special app on their mobile phone, which reveals the point of origin for the product. According to a video produced by the BBC, makers of the bird nest products have had to lower their prices by as much as 50 percent to compete with counterfeit versions.
This is just another example of the role that RFID is playing in food safety, which is considered the next new frontier for RFID technology.