Which Company Characteristics Make a Food Business at Risk for Food Fraud?

Saskia M van Ruth, Onno Nillesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
168 Downloads (Pure)


Fraud can happen to any food business, but some sectors show more historical evidence of food fraud than others. This may be due to particular company characteristics that affect a company's level of vulnerability. In the current study, we examined the relevance of the industry segment, business size, and location of food businesses on their food fraud vulnerabilities. Over 8000 food fraud vulnerability self-assessments conducted by food businesses active in 20 industry segments located in five continents were collected and the data analyzed. Results revealed that a company's industry segment (chain and tier) affects its fraud vulnerability greatly and to a larger extent than the size of the business. The effect of industry segment on fraud vulnerability appears fairly similar across continents, whereas the effect of business size exhibits large geographical variation. The results demonstrate that those involved in animal product supply chains and end of chain nodes (catering, retail) are most vulnerable, and so are larger businesses, and businesses located in Africa and Asia. Current results imply that company characteristics are important determinants of the level of fraud vulnerability, and they may be used reversely in the future, i.e., as predictors of vulnerability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number842
Issue number4
Early online date13 Apr 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 13 Apr 2021


  • food adulteration
  • food crime
  • food fraud assessment
  • fraud risk
  • fraud vulnerability
  • fraudster
  • offence


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