Food Safety Magazine

News | May 5, 2014

Phone App Aims to Combat Counterfeiting of Australian Wine, Food Exported to China

Phone App Aims to Combat Counterfeiting of Australian Wine, Food Exported to China

Source: Australian Broadcasting Commission (www.abc.net.au), edited for stylistic consistency by FSM staff


Chinese customers may have renewed confidence their Australian wine and goods purchases are the real deal with a proposed "authenticity app."

China's CTV has reported that up to 50% of wine sold in China could have fake labels.

In an effort to shore up the authenticity of Australian exports to China, former [Australian] Boomers basketball player Andrew Vlahov and his business partner Grant Shaw have teamed up with Chinese IT company Invengo and consultants Deloitte to develop an app that detects authentic labels.

Vlahov said customers will pay a small premium for a bottle of wine that's authenticated. "That's essentially what we're trying to do, establish a new benchmark and protocol that's accepted by Australians and the Chinese," he explained.

The app is used to scan the bottle's label to truly identify where it has come from, and tracks its journey from producer to customer.

Vlahov said the cost to Australian producers and the customers in China would be minimal. "Wine leaves our country between $5 and $6 a litre but is sold on the shelf at about $25 or $30 a litre," he said. "The technology application we're talking about is less than $1 a litre."

The Ferngrove Wine Group, in the Frankland River region in Western Australia's southwest, has been exporting wine to China for more than a decade. The group will assist Vlahov and Shaw with testing the app in coming months.

Ferngrove managing director and CEO Anthony Wilkes said the market for wine exports to Asia is growing exponentially, adding, "I think if you're not participating in that market you are going to miss some fairly significant opportunities."

Wilkes said the Chinese market is open to high-quality goods from Australia.

He noted that a 2008 incident where contaminated milk powder hospitalised tens of thousands of children has "put a lot of doubt" in local food production.

"As more and more Chinese become more affluent and they want better food and things in life, they seek out where the good produce is," Wilkes said. "I think healthy and safe is very important to them."