Cheese thieves thrive on stolen cheddar

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“Who moved my cheese?” takes on a whole new meaning in light of a new global study from the United Kingdom’s Center for Retail Research, which surveyed 1,187 retailers representing more than 250,000 retail outlets across 43 countries. This is no management book on change; instead this report offers a surprising looking at the most stolen food item in the world: cheese. Yes, cheese. 

Authors of “Looking at the Big Picture to Reduce Shrink” say that in the food category, cheese and meat were stolen or lost at rates higher than the overall average for their industry. In fact, more than 3 percent of cheese goes missing from store shelves.

 According to the Huffington Post, "The biggest threats for retailers are employees and shoplifters," notes Joshua Bamfield, director of the Center for Retail Research. With the price of cheese rising, Bamfield says this is far from surprising given it could be seen as "a lucrative business opportunity for small time criminals."

"It's not just grannies saying, I need some cheese I'll just go and steal it,” he told the news outlet. “A lot of the theft is for resale and a lot of this cheese will be resold into other markets or to restaurants."

Theft is a growing concern for retailers, especially since the annual amount of stolen retail goods increased by 6.6 percent globally (6 percent in North America) since June 2010. But theft also adds to the global average family grocery shopping bill by an extra $200. In the U.S., that figure was $435, according to the report.

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