Food fraud

As we enter a new decade, several new product development trends can be seen; among these are the use of Agtech, as well as the creation of smaller-portion foodstuffs designed for solo living individuals, to minimise waste.

However, some new trends (and the resultant products) may present new opportunities for food fraud – and with our current economic state, fraudulent activities in South Africa are likely to increase. Table 1 below details examples of fraud that may occur in 2020, based on these trends.

These emerging trends, both new and continuing from last year, include alternative-protein-source foodstuffs, use of exotic ingredients in food, and the creation of sustainable choices – as well as the integration of botanicals, to calm the increasingly stressed-out consumer.


Potential Fraud Category


Alternative-Protein Foods


Claiming ‘high in protein’ when not substantiated by the regulated scientific analysis.


Use of allergenic soya protein instead of pea protein, to cut cost.


Inclusion of harmful protein-enhancing ingredients such as melamine, to increase protein content without adding the advertised source, thereby cutting costs.

Exotic Ingredients


Country-of-origin statements omitted from packaging. i.e. advertising that a product comes from a specific region or country when in fact it comes from elsewhere.

Sustainable-choice foodstuffs


Organic, vegan, religious and ethical claims that are not validated.

Foodstuffs for stressed-out consumers


Claimed levels of CBD and other botanicals present in products, when they are lower or non-existent.



Unsubstantiated health claims for CBD and other botanicals present in products.