Food Marketing and Technology Magazine, India, had an tete-a-tete with Murli Iyer, Business Head F&B at Ecolab India. During the interaction, he touched upon interesting topics including the challenges food and beverage companies are facing due to the COVID 19 and the ways Ecolab is working with them for the safety and sanitisation of plants.
Could you tell us in brief about the products and services of Ecolab for the food and beverage industry?
We offer a breadth of solutions to our dairy, beverage, food and brewery customers including products that clean and sanitize equipment as well as environmental surfaces. We help our customers generate deeper, more actionable insights that drive compliance in quality assurance, operational efficiency, and production optimization.
This supports our customers in creating a competitive advantage in the market while protecting their brands’ quality and food safety worldwide. Ecolab employs a total plant assurance approach, offering a unique combination of world-class service, total impact solutions and unsurpassed industry expertise to customers around
Today due to the epidemic situation the most important agenda in the minds of manufacturing companies are to keep the factory running, keep everyone working in it safe and produce safe clean food products. How does Ecolab address this major challenge companies face?
For years now, our plant cleaning and sanitation solutions have helped food and beverage businesses make product processing safer, while also ensuring the safety of their employees. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of safety has taken centre stage. As they reopen post the lockdown, the focus for F&B companies undoubtedly been on getting their plants running and back to capacity in a safe and sustainable manner.
We’ve been working closely with our customers, supporting them as they grapple with the challenge of meeting the twin priorities of employee health as well as food safety. For instance, our 3D TRASAR® technology allows for 24×7 remote monitoring of key Cleaning in place operations in the plant by our expert engineers. Thus, our customers are assured of food safety despite limited employee strength in the plant. As businesses embrace the new normal, we are working even more closely with our F&B customers to help them come up to speed as quickly and safely as possible.
Could you draw a parallel between water and hygiene technologies to productivity?
Real and lasting change is accelerated when economic and environmental benefits are in alignment.
Therefore, we follow a TCO (Total cost of operations) approach that credibly documents operational, economic and resource savings related to water, energy, waste, their asset life, as well as employee safety.
By linking performance outcomes to sustainability metrics and cost savings, we quantify the bottom-line benefits of our solutions. In 2018, Ecolab helped customers conserve more than 188 billion gallons of water and save 19 trillion BTUs of energy globally. In addition, our customers could avoid 2.4 billion pounds of CO2 emissions and eliminate 54 million pounds of waste using our solutions.
Please enlighten the readers with one to two examples in Indian conditions where Ecolab has helped companies to achieve sustainability goal?
We use our TCO approach to help customers exceed their sustainability goal while offering them net monetary benefits. For example, one of our customers, a leading fried snacks manufacturer in India, was able to conserve 72000 litres of water in a year while saving 20% time in cleaning operations through our proprietary fryer cleaning program.
Similarly, one of our big dairy customers was facing issues with incoming milk quality from the milk chillers. We not only helped them improve the micro count of the milk but they also achieved a 10% reduction in their total cost of operations through our specialty cleaning program.
Food safety processes come with a price tag with every intervention that may increase the cost of production so how does a small company balance these factors?
This is extremely relevant today since plants are struggling to balance the higher cost of employee safety against diminishing demand in certain segments. However, improvement in food safety need not always come at a higher cost. Our proprietary cleaning and sanitation programs ensure that food safety is never compromised while allowing customers to reduce costs through lower utility expenses and productivity improvement. Thus, food safety standards can go up without a substantial increase in cost.
Due to the unusual situation in the world the demand for some technology companies have risen more than the others. What is your estimate about the growth of industrial cleaning and sanitation industry?
As mentioned before, food safety and employee health have become more important than ever for F&B businesses in the wake of the pandemic. Maintaining the highest standards of cleaning, sanitation and infection control practices while limiting physical interactions is top priority of all industrial customers. Therefore, industrial cleaning and sanitation solutions are in much greater demand and technology has a big role to play here.
The environmental hygiene category comprising of general cleaners and sanitizers for plant facilities is quite small in India compared to other countries. However, we can expect to see an uptick in the demand, along with an increased need for hand hygiene products (a highly commoditized category). In turn, this will spur the industrial cleaning and sanitation segment.
Innovative digital solutions that help companies keep a strict check on hygiene compliance and 24×7 remote monitoring of key cleaning and sanitation processes, will only drive faster adoption of these solutions.
Ecolab has recently launched the Drysan Duo™ single step dry cleaner cum sanitizer and Tsunami 100 fruit and vegetable sanitizer. How does it help the customer in these times?
The Drysan Duo™ is a ready-to-use spray and wipe cleaner cum sanitizer. It can be used to clean and sanitatize food contact surfaces in plants as well as in offices; especially where the use of water-mixed products is not possible. It is a one-of-a-kind product that cleans and sanitizes unlike most other products which are either cleaners or sanitizers.
In these times, there is significant load on the entire cold chain infrastructure given the high demand for home delivery of essential food items. In such a scenario, the Tsunami-100 offers increased shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables through control of microbial load which can be a boon for farm to fork integrators.
What is the market share of Ecolab in India? What are the strategies in place to increase it?
In India, we are committed to our vision of providing and protecting what is vital: clean water, safe food, abundant energy and healthy environments. Our business is closely aligned with global macro trends, including the growing population and with it, increased demand for food, water and healthy environment in a world of limited resources. As we look to the future, our core capabilities will remain vital to a wide range of industries, with tremendous growth potential, but we continually refocus our strategy to ensure we’re meeting the business goals of our customers.
All queries and questions for Ecolab can be sent directly to EcolabFBIndia@ecolab.com