In-store steak rustlers and other premium food thieves can now be stopped in their tracks by a new security tag tray system developed by Linpac Plastics.

The LINfo absorbent tray features an anti-theft acousto magnetic chip device that can only be deactivated by the checkout scanner and will alert store owners if the product has been taken without payment.

It is estimated that 1-2% of supermarket losses are through product theft, with premium meat and fish items being particularly attractive booty. German retailer REWE was the first to approach Linpac for a solution to the problem. LINfo trays are now in commercial use with beef products at Dansk Supermarket in Denmark.

Trevor Komaromy, Linpac Plastics business development manager, said: “Our new LINfo tray is a great anti-theft device which still offers advanced barrier technology to improve product presentation.

“This is a safe, attractive and cost-effective way of reducing shrinkage for retailers.”

Linpac’s absorbent LINfo tray holds the meat juices safe within its core, minimising leakage to shelves and reducing the need for re-wraps on overwrap packs and liquor build-up on heat sealed packs.

US company Sensormatic supplied the acousto-magnetic chip that is hermetically sealed inside the tray at the bottom and does not come in contact with the pack contents.

Additional cost over a conventional tray will be the cost of the chip plus a charge for insertion.

The LINfo tray system does have potential for use in product traceability and for applications outside of meat where there is demand, revealed a company spokesperson.

Linpac Plastics is working on solutions with RFID technology for use in microwaveable products.

An RFID chipped tray is currently being trialled with a leading European supermarket chain that can log its content’s history, including when and who packaged the product.

It may even be possible for the tray to communicate cooking data to future microwaves.