Ecolab takes advantage of consumer attention on food quality

Picture: Ecolab

Ecolab is planning to expand its food safety business from southern China to the northern part of the country.

The firm said it was still evaluating options on when such a production base would be built and start up and what it would produce.

The past two years have seen double-digit growth in the food safety business in China and global sales reached $13bn in 2016.

Ecolab will set aside $200m every year for research on technologies like industrial digitalization, automatic control and big data in food safety.

Growing middle class

Ecolab said there is a growing middle class globally, led by Asia Pacific especially in China.

Tim Wang, Ecolab EVP and president Greater China, said food safety is closely linked to the dairy industry and the northern region produces most products for this sector.  

We have a very diversified business across the entire country, including the hygiene business in food and beverage, hotel and restaurants, and water treatment business in heavy and light industries, as well as the energy service businesses,” he said.

There are greater standards and expectations for food safety and environmental protection, and increased demand for energy-intensive goods.”

Wang said food consumption in China is shifting from "eating enough" to "eating well." 

“Consumers are paying greater attention to food quality and nutrition, which is leading to increased sales of fresh, high-quality meat and seafood products as part of healthier diets,” he said. 

Ecolab is working behind-the-scenes to help customers throughout China addressing food safety challenges and keeping food supplies safe, and helping solve the water challenges the country is facing.”

Significant improvement over the years

Ecolab has partnered with government and other organizations to promote food safety standards.

The firm added every day in Greater China it helps clean 300 miles of dairy pipe and treat more than 200,000 chickens to control Salmonella.

Cleaning and disinfection methods have been used in brands including McDonald's, KFC and Starbucks in China. 

Since April 2011, we’ve worked with China Business News (CBN) and the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology to establish the “Chinese Seven-Star Food Safety Alliance,” which aims to bring together food safety experts, academics, enterprises and government departments to share best practices in Chinese food safety issues,” said Wang.

“There has been significant improvement in food safety standards over the years, but, as with many areas of the world, more work needs to be done to further reduce the risk of foodborne illness.”

Ecolab Greater China has more than 3,600 associates in the region and operates six manufacturing facilities in the southern and eastern areas of the country as well as more than 40 sales offices in Greater China.

The firm serves more than 100,000 global, regional and local customers.

In 2015, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and State Council issued the “New Food Safety Law” and “Water Ten” plan, which are designed to improve compliance requirements in these areas for many Chinese manufacturers,” said Wang. 

“Consumption in China will continue to increase, driving greater demand for food and other products. This will place even greater strain on China’s water resources and increase the need for high food safety standards.”

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