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By TPCI | December 18, 2019

ZEUTEC India a wholly owned subsidy of ZEUTEC GmbH is the leader in manufacturing of processing equipment, instruments relevant for quality check in the food domain for various industries like dairies, beverages, food processing, breweries, distilleries, chemical, pharmaceutical and many more.

The firm since 1997 has been developing specialized quality-check equipment and developing applications in line with NearInfrared technology. With the current manufacturing plant only in Germany, ZEUTEC eyes on expanding its presence on the Indian mainland with a huge factory set-up envisioned in the near future.

Talking to Indusfood-Tech, Sanjit Mullick, MD, ZEUTEC, shares some interesting industry insights and also unveils his plans of expansion in terms of market type, segments and innovative instruments, which he opines would increase the efficiency of quality check of various products on the fields. Following are few excerpts from the interview:

Indusfood-Tech: Tell us about the company’s formation and growth story? How have you evolved as a business in India and abroad?
Sanjit Mullick: ZEUTEC was founded in 1997 (in Germany) with the objective to develop and produce specialized spectrometer systems for scientific applications. Since then the product range of spectrometers and accessories covers NearInfrared (NIR) analyzers for routine laboratory applications with a multitude of accessories for the sample conditioning and presentation. Dedicated analytical solutions are available for agricultural, food, feed and other industrial applications, which are sold in markets all over the world.

In 2006, the SpectraAlyzer and its extensive accessories were awarded the Schmidt-Römhild technology award of Schleswig-Holstein from the German Government. Its sensitive optics, versatility and simple to operate user interface convinced the judging panel. Since then, we have been very aggressive in the market. First we penetrated in the Europe market as it was a low hanging fruit for us being situated in Germany. Then we started expanding our market base and eventually started in India in 2015.

Although the product is German, the software plays an important role. So, India being a software hub, we first started our operations in Bangalore with an idea of developing a complete software, which is required for such kind of instruments. Today, we have a huge software team. Eventually, we added our marketing team, Application Team, Service team, CRM team and kept on expanding. Today, I would say, we are on a good platform where we can really take-on. Moreover, apart from India we are also managing our entire Asia business. Thus, we are expanding our network very rapidly. In Asia, we have more than 20 distributors which gives amplified and huge footprint into the market.

Indusfood-Tech: What are the changes you are noticing in the present-day F&B industry and business environment?
SM: When we forayed into the Indian market, in 2015, the country was a software hub by that time already. The country gave us a very favorable situation where we did not need to explore anything. Everything was available. Especially, in cities like Bangalore and Delhi, the fresh software talent was available in abundance.

Today, there is a growing health awareness associated with food intake among the masses and the fact that the population is growing every year, becomes a most conducive factor for food processing industry’s growth.

Also, when we talk of quality food today, the quality measurement comes into picture where FSSAI has also laid some very stringent guidelines. I must add that our instruments are a perfect match for the same. Moreover, these guidelines have made our work swift as it becomes very easy to really analyze the various organic parameters, nutrition values etc.

India is a huge market because of its population and the fact that our food consumption is very high. However, if you see the S.E. Asia market, it is also quite huge.

Indusfood-Tech: What are the key product categories you cater to? And what are the major end use sectors where you are witnessing good demand for your equipment?
SM: We cater to different market segments ranging from different kinds of food and beverages like beers, wines, spirits, any kind of eatables, chocolates, edible oils, dairy, sugar etc. Apart from that, we also enjoy our celebrated presence in different domains such as textiles, medical diagnosis and some of the chemical industries.

We are finding huge demand for our instruments and major growth opportunity in the RTD category, the less organized yet potential dairy segment and the spices industry. Another major one is the agricultural food market like rice, flour, cereals, grains etc. Worth mentioning, the recent initiative of the government in terms of E-NAAM projects and fair price policy also depends on the quality. Thus, we are presenting ourselves in such an agricultural market where quality would be monitored. Secondly, we are in an industry where different grains get processed with different kind of foods. Thus, again quality is a must. Furthermore, the products to be exported have to match certain quality benchmarks according to the international standards. Here also, our instruments play an important role by giving the right-quality evaluation.

Furthermore, other major markets where we find good application are meat and fish industries, especially that of the export markets of regions like Middle East.

Today ZEUTEC provides its customers with flow cells, light sources and software packages and the “SpectraAlyzer” NIR spectrometers. The SpectraAlyzer instruments are widely used in routine analysis of the agri, food, feed and chemical industry as well as in research stations, universities and institutions worldwide. The devices have a high benefit for our commercial and industrial customers.

Through the precise determination of the composition of the traded or produced product, a direct conclusion about the quality and cost of traded, used raw materials and the efficiency of the production is possible. The fast and accurate analysis of the properties of the product produced also serves to improve quality control and assurance. In agricultural trade, suppliers are paid based on the quality of the raw materials which is determined using the SpectraAlyzer devices, as I mentioned earlier.

Indusfood-Tech: How strong has been the role of the R&D for your business to be a success? Any major R&D/innovations that you might wish to share with us?
SM: As far as one is in business, he has to be up there with R&D. To pace up the game, R&D is a must. This is the bottom line. We are developing new products in certain categories. See, if I segregate the market into three different categories, say, top of the pyramid market where we are already there; the middle pyramid where we are already trying to penetrate; and the last being the bottom of the pyramid market where we are not there at all. Thus, after registering success in the top two segments, we are now looking for some cost-effective solutions through which we can successfully penetrate the bottom of the pyramid, which is the mass market.

Our R&D team in Germany is exploring and developing a suitable product for the same specifically for the Indian and the Asian market. A lot of research and other work has already been completed in the same. Thus, we are coming up with some small instruments and hand-held pocket sized equipment, which can directly be used in the fields so as to cater to the mentioned segment in particular.

Another technology and application that we are coming-up with is the online tracking and monitoring system. Also, we are coming up with devices, which can handle multiple parameter checks (almost 15-20 parameters) in a single go (like moisture-meter, fat meter, alcohol meter all in one). Needless to mention, such instruments are hardly found in the market. We are soon to launch the device in Berlin, Germany by March 2020.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you plan to expand your business in the next five years?
SM: We are into NearInfrared technology and we are going to stick with this technology forever. The only expansions and diversifications we plan are in its application, which I would tell you is huge. We have been inventing different applications since our inception and the process is still continuing. We are already there in the food, grain and beverage market. Moreover, owing to the vast span of the food market, there still may lie few areas where we are yet to enter. Those are raw tea leaves, coffee beans etc. where the raw materials have to be checked for certain quality in terms of caffeine and moisture percentage. These are few areas where we are looking to explore and expand.

Furthermore, we are looking forward to tap the opportunities to penetrate into the S. E. Asia region, esp. Malaysia and Indonesia as they are very strong in palm oil. India is still importing a lot of palm oil from these two countries. Thus, there remains a huge potential.

Besides, if we talk of India, the liquor consumption in the country is also growing very rapidly. Therefore, we are looking to tap the markets of Thailand, China and Vietnam for the same. A lot of micro-breweries are also emerging at a great pace. They are rapidly looking for quality and accuracy. Thus, there comes our role where we ensure quality with our outstanding equipment as we provide instruments, which give perfect alcohol measurement and other content for a safe, high-quality and hygienic drinking experience altogether. Moreover, we are looking forward to a total CAGR of 20%.

Indusfood-Tech: How is the food processing equipment industry expected to grow in the future? What will be the drivers of the growth?
SM: We are an agriculture-driven country.  Every year, the food processing and the allied equipment industry is registering good growth. Furthermore, there are lot of initiatives seen from the government side as well. The only necessary requirement is if we can club these initiatives and developments with the new technologies. If we are able to do it soon, our yield, production and quality would increase and we will also be able to minimize the losses.

Indusfood-Tech: What has been the progress of your business on the export front and which are the main markets you have successfully penetrated? What are your future strategies to tap your potential target markets?
SM: Our manufacturing unit is set up in Germany. We are looking forward to increase our business in numbers across the globe and our immediate target is to set-up a manufacturing plant in India. Moreover, we see huge market potential in the entire South-East Asia for which our placement in India with an established manufacturing unit would prove to be strategic. We aim to be ready with our plant in India by August 2020. Once it is done, we would be able to export to all regions, esp. the S. E. Asian countries.

Today, ZEUTEC has a big customer base of leading companies from the agricultural and food industry as well as well-known research institutes like Fraunhofer Institutes, Max-Planck-Institutes and University Institutes, IIT, Nestle, Fratelli wines, Amann Threads, Coats Limited, Kerry, Chipita, Radico Khaitan, Pepsico, all over Europe and other countries globally.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you see the investment opportunities and the business environment for the food processing industry in India?
SM: The opportunities are good and conducive and taken up well by the industry players. However, if we wish to increase our export, we definitely have to be very stringent about the quality we offer. In fact, the growth in exports and food processing segment can be doubled, if we really focus on quality.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you see Indusfood-Tech as a platform for the growth of the industry?
SM: We are looking forward to both organic and inorganic growth. Thus, we are also looking to tie up with small manufacturers also with whom we can work as OEMs and thus can also develop an OEM product, which can have a better market approach in certain segments.

Indusfood-Tech is a valuable place to expose oneself. We would be participating in Indusfood-tech and showcasing our capabilities and instruments in order to attract customers from across the globe.