The Food Marketing and Technology Magazine – India, interacted with Agilent Technologies, India team; Mr Bharat Bhardwaj (Country Manager India); Joseph L. Hedrick (Commercialization Manager) and Prasenjit Kar (Business Manager); at the launch of their products Cary 3500 and Gas Chromatograph Systems 8890 & 8860. They enlightened us about Agilent India’s journey and they also provided complete details about the newly launched products.

Tell us about Agilent India’s journey so far

Agilent started its operations in India in 1999 and we spun-off from Hewlett-Packard. When we started, we were about 15-20 employees in this segment and now in 2019, we have more than 1400 employees based across different parts of India. We have come a long way with remarkable products, all because of the efforts of our R&D teams and our labs that made this happen. We have 10 offices in India. We are very proud that we have been able to increase the value for our shareholders in the last few years.

Put some light on Agilent’s operations and services offered in India

Our services are the backbone of our operations; we have more than 250 service engineers who help our customers solve critical challenges in their laboratories as they seek to improve the world. We are spread across India to make sure that we provide timely and efficient service to our valuable customers.

Tell us about the recently launched instruments Cary 3500 & Gas Chromatography Systems 8890 & 8860. What are the key features of these instruments?

Cary 3500 UV-Vis Spectrophotometer provides critical tool that allow laboratories to perform tests more quickly and accurately. With more than 70 years of insight and customer collaborations, Agilent’s spectroscopy unit has created a faster, more robust system that comes with a lower cost of ownership. This new system enables laboratories to make substantial gains in efficiency as it can run multiple experiments simultaneously; allowing labs to generate more results within the same time, and it also extends the capability to design experiments in ways that were not possible before.

Gas Chromatograph 8890 & 8860 are the next generation evolving from 7890. The new GC systems have been designed with a clear strategy to provide customers with continual expansion of smart connected technology. The 8860 system is designed to support many core routine applications, while the 8890 system is designed to support ultimate flexibility and expandability, supporting customer needs both today and tomorrow. The 8890 is highly intelligent with the capability to extend its capacity as per the lab’s expansion needs. While the 8860 is the GC for core routine applications, it is anything but routine with intelligent features.

Would you like to tell us about your key products relevant to the Indian food industry?

Agilent’s instruments, systems, and supplies are used throughout the food production chain, including inspection, new product development, quality control and assurance and packaging. We have a complete portfolio for the food segment, starting from sample preparation to the analytical instruments and powerful softwares. Our sophisticated mass spectrometry instruments, LC/MS, GC/MS and ICP/MS, provide the most accurate analysis for food analysts. All these three products work on a single software platform of MassHunter which is appreciated by users for its ability to read or interpret the data in the right manner with enhanced features to ensure data integrity.

What kind of training programmes Agilent is offering?

We understand food segment has had rapid growth and there aren’t as many trained people who can operate these instruments efficiently. That’s why we have focused our efforts to develop high-end instruments that are easy to use; New GC or LC/MS Ultivo are examples of this effort. In the last few years, we have developed in-house learning platform for our future users, which we call as the Agilent University model. We are constantly running programmes under this umbrella to train the upcoming users. We do several live workshops, on a digital platform and collaborate with regulatory bodies to provide trained resources. Our focus has been more specific around providing a workflow-based approach to applications which contribute to customer success.

Could you please elaborate on the innovations and technological advancements in your key areas of operation?

The food industry, particularly in India, has evolved in the last couple of years in a much stronger manner. Agilent has been providing food analytical solutions to the market, but it was largely focusing on the product which we were exporting. However, now we see the regulators in India are coming up with similar expectations and standards for domestic consumption as well. All our technologies which were so far being used for exported products are now being used for the domestic market. This means that we are fully capable to help domestic players to comply with increasing stringency in the Indian food regulatory framework. I’m also very excited to see that regulatory bodies are engaging with leading companies such as Agilent and we can join forces together to keep the food supply safe.

Tell us about Agilent’s major investments in India particularly in the food sector

Food is one of the major growing segments. We have a global segment team which is focusing on food. Our teams are working very closely with the food regulatory bodies at a different level to draft new policies or guidelines. We ensure that they have access to the latest technologies and skill sets.

We have made the required investment which starts with having the right set of people in place. But now a new challenge in the market is to ensure data integrity. That is how one can make the produced results tamper-proof. This is where Agilent has introduced ECM (Enterprise Content Management) tool which has been very successful in the pharma environment and can now be used to address this need in the food segment as well.

Would you like to mention any case studies of innovative solutions catering to the Indian food sector?

Authenticity testing is an area of increasing interest which also includes tracing the origin of food, e.g. the Basmati rice or the back pepper from Kerala. We are working with the regulators to check the authenticity of the food products. There are solutions based on mass spectrometry platforms along with advanced software known as the Mass Profiler Professional software. This helps you to create a statistical model to test the authenticity of the food. We have worked with regulators to implement food fortification policy by enabling food nutrition analysis. We make sure that they have the right chromatograph and the right techniques to perform nutrition testing.

The pesticides, metal traces, and other contaminants have become a significant concern in the food industry. How is Agilent helping food industry in maintaining food safety standards?

Residue testing which includes pesticides, trace metals and antibiotics etc remains at the core of our efforts in the food safety analysis. Agilent is working with leading researchers and labs to develop new standards for pesticides, veterinary drug residues and emerging process contaminants. With our understanding of the global market, we have brought the pesticide analyser concept to India. Our analyser can analyse up to 400 pesticides/contaminants in a single run. We also guide the user to know about all the pesticides, because we have observed that the pesticides matrices are also changing over the last few years. This analyser is much more advanced, much easier, and the user doesn’t have to wait for too long to build application and leverage work done by our experts. Also, we will keep on updating and validating this analyser, it will not stop at 400, because we also know that there will be a new set of contaminants that will keep on adding. In addition to these, our QToF technology provides the perfect tool for both qualitative and quantitative studies- enabling screening and quantification.

Water shortage is a major concern all across the globe. What is Agilent doing to address this global issue?

Agilent is helping to address the safety of water, soil and air to protect human health. Agilent has been a leader in water testing for more than 40 years. Agilent and its partners are enabling water reuse and helping address global water shortages.

Agilent and its collaborators are developing new ways to detect known and unknown contaminants. We are working towards environmental protection by providing tools to monitor the level of contaminants in water. In India, we are working with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), to update their standards on drinking water. Water is a very wide concept and it demands highly complex testing. We have solutions on various aspects of water such as; the drinking water testing, water storage tests, sea water testing, wastewater testing etc. We collaborate with commercial testing labs to come up with certain solutions. Our techniques like ICP-MS are there to analyse metal content in the stored water.

Tell us about Agilent’s Future vision

Agilent’s mission is to deliver trusted answers and insights that advance the quality of life. We continue to move forward towards this mission. Our focus on innovation differentiates us, we are committed to providing reliable answers and insights, helping our customers to anticipate the next challenges and solving their problems.