Food & Drink Cargo on the Menu for Thieves

Cargo thieves are becoming more high-tech, but the products they are targeting inside tractor-trailers is anything but.

A new report by FreightWatch International says simple food and drink is the most stolen type of freight since 2008, reports Heavy Duty Trucking.

AS is the case for pharmaceuticals, overall volume of food and drink thefts is dropping, but the average loss value is steadily climbing, reports FreightWatch.

“Simply put, as the availability of low-security and high-value loads diminishes, organized cargo criminals must broaden their efforts, targeting a wider variety of low-risk, high-reward shipments,” the report said. “Additionally, seasonal trends becomes apparent, with volumes rising in fourth quarter to peak in the first quarter, then decreasing again in the summer months, potentially due to increased risk of spoilage of perishable products.”

“Criminals will continue to weigh the pros of easy obtainability and liquidation against the cons of perishability and medium-value density.”

The most popular subtype is sodas, juice, tea and water, with 16% of the total food and drink heists. Seafood and nuts, however, only accounted for 8% and 6% of the total, respectively, but recorded the two highest average loss values at $178,488 and $160,491 each.

Meats, another cost-dense food, is a subtype that lies at the intersection of the high value and frequently stolen categories. With 12% of the total, it is the third most stolen subtype after canned and dry goods, and has the fourth highest average loss value at $78,397.

When food and drinks thefts valued over $250,000 are looked at closely, some interesting details also emerge, according to FreightWatch. Seafood accounts for 50% of thefts over $250,000, with nuts accounting for another 25%.

Additionally, all food and drink thefts over $250,000 were perpetrated in one of three states: California, with a 50% share; Florida second with 38% of such thefts, while New Jersey had 12% of these thefts for third place.

According to FreightWatch, although the value of reported food and drinks cargo theft incidents is relatively low, ranking eighth out of 12 in the second quarter of the year, it is on the rise.

“This product type is showing that trends seen in other high-value areas is not isolated to electronics or pharmaceuticals, but in fact organized cargo criminals are actively and aggressively targeting food and drinks and will continue to do so,” the report said. “With no unique serialization to hinder the reselling of these products, criminals will continue to weigh the pros of easy obtainability and liquidation against the cons of perishability and medium-value density as they determine where to focus their efforts.”

Scroll to Top