Navigating the intricate landscapes of the food and beverage (F&B) sector, Mr. Siddharth Chowdhary, Executive Director, Bluecraft Agro, in an exclusive interview to FMT Magazine, offers compelling perspectives on the trajectory of Bluecraft Agro and its role in redefining industry standards. From elucidating the genesis of their food-grade starch products to unveilling their robust approach to quality assurance and sustainability, this interview provides insights into the ethos and aspirations of Bluecraft Agro.

Q1. How has the trajectory of your company been so far, especially with navigating the F&B space?

Inspired by over three decades of successful track record and an undisputed dominance in the starch industry in India, Bluecraft Agro Pvt. Ltd. was established in 2018 under the aegis of the Riddhi Siddhi Group, to cater to the unmet needs and high potential of growing consumer markets across the world.

While our products find their applications in various industries, Food & Beverages (F&B) industry is the most significant driver of our growth due to changing consumer preferences, rising demand for convenience and processed food, healthier alternatives, and wider emphasis on multi-functional products, which require our plant-based starches and its derivatives. Our Food segment portfolio consists of Food-grade Starch, Modified Starch, Maltodextrin, Liquid Glucose, Sorbitol, and Sodium Starch Glycolate.

Over the last five years, we have been growing at double digits annually and expect the momentum to continue in the coming years as we strengthen our position in the domestic and export markets.

Q2. What inspired the development of your food-grade starch products, and what sets it apart from other similar products in the market? 

With growing population and increasing demand for processed and packaged food, the need for natural ingredients that enhance the shelf-life, taste, and texture has increased significantly. Our food ingredients provide various benefits to many food products, enhancing its efficiency and quality. Starch is widely used as thickeners, stabilizers, extenders, emulsifiers, and as exceptional binders in products such as soups, sauces, noodles, and confectionery. Besides this, Maltodextrin which is a derivative of Starch is also used in various food applications rendering enhanced texture, taste and stability in products such as confectionery, savories, sauces & seasonings, beverages, baby food and bakery products. 

We ensure delivering high-quality products to our customers by harnessing manufacturing excellence, decades of expertise, and best practices in the industry. We do not compromise on Man, Machine and Material, which sets us apart in the industry.

Q3. Could you provide insights into the sourcing and production process of your food-grade starch? How do you ensure quality and sustainability throughout the supply chain? 

Bluecraft Agro is backed by a wealth of expertise and intricate knowledge of procurement of raw material. We take pride in our unmatched procurement practices which is driven by our on-ground procurement team spread across key procurement regions.

We have a distinguished supply chain network including 6,000 farmers and 300 traders and brokers which ensure that we procure high-quality raw material at the right time and price directly from the farm. Besides this, we have storage facility for around 3,00,000 metric tons of raw material including in-house and external warehouses.

We are among the largest buyers of agricultural produce in India, procuring >6,50,000 metric tons annually, while supporting the farming community in producing good quality and yield. The quality of incoming raw material is tested by international certification agencies, while the finished products are tested by our in-house laboratory before dispatch to customers. 

In the entire process of procurement of raw material to the delivery of our finished products to customers, Bluecraft Agro engages with and impact millions of lives, thereby strengthening sustainability of our supply chain.

Q4. With increasing demand for natural and healthy food ingredients, how does your product align with these preferences, and what steps do you take to meet evolving consumer needs? 

Our products are manufactured from plant-based sources and fulfills the requirement of clean, healthy and naturally derived ingredients for the Food & Beverages industry. Focus on health and wellness has driven the demand for nutritional food products and our multi-functional products are well-suited to these changing preferences. 

As consumer choices and tastes evolve, we are keen on collaborating with our customers by developing a deep understanding of their requirement and customize our solutions to cater to their unique and innovative needs.

Q5. How does your company approach research and development to continuously innovate and improve your food-grade starch product? 

We prioritize innovation and continuous improvement and have established an in-house Research & Development Centre at our plant, which works continuously to develop and deliver superior performance products. The highly qualified and experienced team of engineers and scientists develops new products every year for various applications based on market needs. 

All our plants are equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and modern technology. Our dedicated laboratory with high-end equipment and standard testing methodologies ensures that all our products undergo stringent quality checks and meet customer expectations.

Q6. How do you envision the future of the food-grade starch industry, and what role does Bluecraft Agro aim to play in shaping this future? 

Starch is a versatile, natural, renewable and biodegradable polymer and has wide ranging applications in various industries, Food & Beverages (F&B) being one of them. Starch is a widely used ingredient in the F&B industry, known for its thickening, stabilizing, binding, and texturizing properties. 

The food grade starch demand in India has been growing consistently over the years owing to the exponential growth of F&B industry in India in the last few years, which is anticipated to grow by ~15% CAGR. Bluecraft Agro is among the market leaders with combined production capacity of 2,300 metric tons per day, holding about 10% of the market share and well-equipped to service domestic and exports markets. 

We have seen growing investments in the F&B space recently, especially in the segment of healthier alternatives and clean labels, which gives us further scope to innovate and cater to these emerging opportunities.