food safety

Strategic Consulting Expands to Meet Needs of Industrial Diagnostics Market

Strategic Consulting, Inc., has added Robert J. Ferguson as Managing Director as it continues to expand to meet the growing demand for market intelligence and business strategy in the industrial diagnostics market.

Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI), the leading knowledge resource for business strategy and market intelligence in the industrial diagnostics industry, announced in advance of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting that Robert J. Ferguson has joined the company as Managing Director. Founded in 1996 by President, Tom Weschler, Strategic Consulting focuses on microbiology-based, quality and safety testing in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries, and in environmental and industrial process water.

“In our 20-year history, we’ve seen tremendous growth and change in the industrial diagnostics industry, particularly in the food safety sector,” Mr. Weschler said. “With Bob Ferguson’s expertise in all aspects of the market, plus extensive experience in business management, strategy development and international business, SCI will be expanding its services and offering our clients an even deeper skill set and knowledge base.”

Market research is vital to the development of the industrial market, and continues to be in demand. In 2017, we anticipate delivery of new editions of our report on Microbiology Testing in the Global Food Industry as well as the Food Contract Lab Report.

With more than 30 years in industrial and environmental diagnostics and laboratory businesses, Mr. Ferguson has expertise in accelerating growth, international business development, business turnarounds, M&A, and new product development in businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Prior to joining SCI, Mr. Ferguson was Worldwide Vice President and General Manager for Becton Dickinson’s (BD) Industrial Microbiology and Clinical Media Business Unit; a $350M global business serving the clinical and industrial diagnostic markets in food safety, pharmaceutical, personal care and medical devices, with customers in more than 100 countries around the world.

Ferguson, Managing Director, Strategic Consulting, SCI

Robert J. Ferguson, Managing Director

“Having worked with Tom and Strategic Consulting for many years, I am well aware of SCI’s reputation as the leading market knowledge and strategy resource for industrial diagnostics, “Ferguson said. “I’m pleased to be joining SCI, and I look forward to contributing to and building on its outstanding work.”

In its 20-year history, SCI has built a reputation as the “go to” source in the industrial diagnostics space, in part through its 19 well-researched market reports, which are widely accepted by leading diagnostic manufacturers and investors as highly credible analyses of the industry. “SCI market reports having been developed through literally thousands of interviews with production companies worldwide in the food, pharmaceuticals and personal care industries,” Mr. Weschler said.

“Market research is vital to the development of the industrial market, and continues to be in demand,” Ferguson said. “In 2017, we anticipate delivery of new editions of our report on Microbiology Testing in the Global Food Industry as well as the Food Contract Lab Report.”

IMMR—4 is currently available online at www.strategic-consult.com, and a new edition of “Global Review of Microbiology Testing in the Industrial Market”(IMMR-5) will follow Food Micro—9 and FCLR—2, Mr. Ferguson said. SCI also will be expanding its capabilities to provide market research projects specific to individual client requirements.

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Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI) provides market reports and business consulting on microbiology-based quality and safety testing for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, environmental water and industrial-process water. With more than 100 combined years of international management in the food safety testing and industrial diagnostics marketplaces, SCI’s principals have proven success in working with venture capital backed start-ups, publicly traded companies, technology acquisitions, and transformation of underachieving companies. For more information on Strategic Consulting and its current market reports, visit www.strategic-consult.com or call +1 443 244 5245.

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Troubling Times for Food Safety Diagnostic Companies

Increased competition, the growing dominance of food contract testing labs, and changes in product mix are turning good times to troubled ones for some food safety diagnostic companies.

For much of the past 20 years, the food safety market has been very, very good to the diagnostic companies, especially those making pathogen testing instruments and consumables. A number of dramatic shifts in the market, however, resulting from increased competition, the growing dominance of food contract testing labs and the subsequent change in product mix, have turned good times to troubled ones for some pathogen test manufacturers.

The story of big changes for pathogen testing and the food safety diagnostics industry begins with the Jack-in-the-Box disaster in 1993. Described by Jeff Benedict, author of the 2011 book, Poisoned, as “far and away the most infamous food poison outbreak in contemporary history,” the E. coli outbreak from tainted ground beef sickened 732 people and killed four children, and set a number of pivotal market drivers in motion.

Most importantly, this incident (and a number of other egregious recalls later the 1990s) raised food safety to a top-of-mind issue and compromised the public’s trust in the safety of their food. This drove major changes in government regulation as well as food industry processing and testing practices, and greatly increased the level of pathogen testing conducted by food processing companies worldwide.

food safety testing, pathogen testingAt the same time, the food supply chain was growing increasingly complex, with imports accounting for 15-20% of U.S. food consumption. The increase in imports led to even more pathogen testing to monitor food safety at every point along the global food chain.

As seen in the chart at right, these factors have driven worldwide pathogen testing volumes up by more than 400% in the past 15 years.

Competition Among Diagnostic Companies Increases

As test volumes increased, food diagnostic companies began to introduce new technologies to help food plant labs (FPLs) handle the growing workload and testing requirements. The higher cost of these new test methods sent the market value for pathogen testing up, faster even than the impressive 9.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for test volume seen over the same period.

The increased sales and success of the food diagnostic companies with their new, “rapid” pathogen systems attracted many other participants to the market. The number of companies providing pathogen-testing products went from a handful in the 1990s to more than 20 a decade later. While each new participant offered advances in testing technology, most were evolutionary and not revolutionary. And every improvement—for example, reduced enrichment time or increased system sensitivity/specificity—would soon be matched by others manufacturers.

With numerous pathogen systems on the market and competitors finding it hard to differentiate themselves, many pathogen diagnostic companies were forced to compete on price. Their customers at food industry plant labs (FPLs) and corporate labs, and particularly at food contract labs (FCLs), soon saw that price per test had become a very big lever they could use with competing pathogen diagnostic companies having somewhat interchangeable systems. Price per test has been under pressure ever since, and the profitability of pathogen test diagnostic companies has suffered as a result.

Fewer—and Bigger Laboratories Drive Test Costs and Requirements

Compounding the increased price competition has been the concentration of pathogen analysis (and other food safety testing) in fewer and larger facilities. As discussed in the three previous blogs in this series, more and more pathogen analysis is now conducted at FCLs or in larger FPLs. Small and mid-sized food plant labs seem to be closing, and looking to third-party contract testing labs for their food safety analytical needs. This concentration puts more buying power in fewer—and bigger—hands, and further exacerbates price competition among test manufacturers.

Customer concentration also is changing the requirements for pathogen testing systems, as automation, throughput and matrix versatility become increasingly important for large volume testing laboratories. Some pathogen diagnostic companies are having difficulty matching the revised product requirements, and as a result are not competing as effectively in the new environment.

Although pathogen diagnostic companies are already challenged, SCI sees another big change in the market with the potential for even greater profit impact. IEH Laboratories, one of the larger FCLs, has been producing their own “home brew” reagents for pathogen test analysis for the past 10 years. By making their own reagents, at a cost of roughly $1-$2 per test, IEH avoids the added costs of purchasing reagents from diagnostic companies, with prices ranging from $4-$8 per test. As a result, IEH has had a lower cost basis—and greater profits—than its competitors. This “home brew” approach is also affecting profits for the pathogen diagnostic companies.

Other FCLs are aware of their competitor’s “home-brew” reagent approach. With the leading FCLs running 100+ labs worldwide, to avoid paying full price to diagnostic companies for reagents is compelling. While a country-by-country approval of this approach would need to be secured (e.g., AOAC approval is required in the U.S.), the leading FCLs have the critical mass/size—and profit incentive—to move forward. IEH has, in fact, received AOAC approval for its methodology/system for pathogen analysis. If and, most likely, when more of the larger FCLs follow the “home-brew” route, the impact on the food diagnostic companies could be significant.

It should be noted that not all pathogen diagnostic companies are being equally impacted by these trends. Anticipating the increasing importance of FCLs, some diagnostic companies already have introduced automated sample prep and analysis systems with higher throughput, targeted to the needs of larger corporate and food contract labs. Others diagnostic companies are using a different strategy, developing and selling pathogen-testing approaches that specifically target small and medium food plant labs. The hope is to get FPLs to keep pathogen analysis at the food plant or, even better, to bring it back from the FCLs because of lower costs, better control and quicker results.

From the good times of the 1990s and early 2000s to the increasing price competition over the past 3-5 years and the possibility of being cut out of the food safety testing market completely—these are troubling times for some diagnostic test companies. Some are positioned with differentiated products, and others have strong market channels and broad product lines. They should be fine. Many diagnostic companies, however, could find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. For them, the recent evolution of the food safety testing market, and the lucrative pathogen testing market in particular, could prove costly.

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Many “Niches” in the Global Food Microbiology Testing Market

Due out this month, Food Micro, Eighth Edition: Microbiology Testing in the Global Food Industry (Food Micro-8) explores differences in testing by region, food segment, organisms and company structures.

Microbiology testing by food companies around the world is on the rise. Increases are occurring in all geographic regions and across all food segments. The total volume of food microbiology testing worldwide is approaching 1 billion tests annually—an increase of about 125% since 1998.
Routine and Pathogen Food Microbiology Tests Worldwide

Numerous factors are driving the increase in food microbiology testing: read more…

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Comparing Food Safety Testing Practices in the US and Europe: How Fast Is Fast Enough?

US food producers are moving more quickly to new, rapid technologies for their food safety testing programs, while their European counterparts remain more faithful to traditional microbiology test methods, according to Food Micro—7, a new market research report from Strategic Consulting, Inc.

Woodstock, VT October 2, 2012 — A new study comparing food safety testing in the United States and Europe points to key differences between these two large food producing regions, and projects continued but differing growth in the size and value of their respective food microbiology testing markets.

Food Micro, Seventh Edition: Comparison of the Food Microbiology Testing Markets in the US and EU (Food Micro—7) from Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI), compares total test volume, market value and growth in food microbiology testing, including the organisms tested and the technologies used for food safety testing in each region. read more…

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Multiplexing Becoming a Reality for Food Pathogen Testing

Dupont and Seegene to jointly develop highly multiplexed assays for food safety testing

In our previous blog post, we discussed the evolution of pathogen testing for food safety and the increasing need for multiplexing to be able to analyze for more than one pathogen at a time. read more…

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Food Safety Testing Technology Continues to Advance

A common topic of this blog is the continued innovation in the food safety testing market in terms of both new technology and new partnerships/acquisitions. Our two new reports, on food microbiology testing in the US and in Europe, document the size and the potential in these two important markets.

There’s a good article by Julian Turner on Food Processing-Technology.com that speaks to some of these new advances. read more…

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New BD Diagnostics and SDIX Collaboration: Will 1 + 1 = 3?

New Partnerships Between Diagnostic Companies Have Created Synergies with the Potential to Deliver Real Innovation in Food Safety Testing.

In my last blog, I discussed Life Technologies’ acquisition of Matrix MicroScience. A new collaboration between SDIX and BD Diagnostics, a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), also is intriguing. read more…

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Food Microbiology Diagnostics — Will 1 + 1 = 3?

Recent diagnostic company and technology pairings are creating innovative microbiology solutions for the food processing industry

Strategic Consulting has just completed a market research and publication cycle for its most recent report, Food Micro, Sixth Edition: Food Microbiology Testing in Europe. One thing is clear, the food microbiology market will see more and more partnering of companies, products and technologies to come up with solutions that meet customer requirements. It’s not always possible to get to that “best solution” based on the technologies resident at one company. Why not go out and combine strengths with others if it will result in a better solution?

A couple of new diagnostic company pairings have created synergies with the potential to deliver real innovation in food safety testing: Life Technologies’ acquisition in January of Matrix MicroScience, and a new collaboration announced in February between SDIX and BD Diagnostics, a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company).

read more…
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Food Safety Testing Market in Europe to Top $1 Billion in Five Years

According to Food Micro—6, a new market research report from Strategic Consulting, Inc., food safety microbiology testing in the EU will reach close to 350 million tests in 2016, at which point the market should top $1 billion in value.

Woodstock, VT February 9, 2012 — Europe is a substantial market for food microbiology testing. With a population of over 500 million, the 27 countries of the European Union (EU) conducted an estimated 275 million food safety microbiology tests in 2011, according to Food Micro, Sixth Edition: Food Microbiology Testing in Europe (Food Micro—6), a new market report from Strategic Consulting, Inc. In comparison, there were 213 million such tests conducted in the US in 2010.

EU Food Safety Test Volume 2005 - 2011

EU Food Safety Test Volume 2005 - 2011

Food Micro—6 is the first definitive report to focus exclusively on the European food microbiology testing market, and reviews the methods, technologies, companies, regulations and trends shaping food safety testing in Europe.

According to Tom Weschler, president of Strategic Consulting and lead author of Food Micro-6, “Food safety microbiology testing in the EU will approach 350 million total tests in 2016, at which point the market should top $1 billion in value.” Given these numbers and other factors, the European food safety testing market must be examined and understood, Weschler says. “A resurgence in public awareness in the wake of the 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany, and the continued focus of the European Food Safety Authority on EU-wide systems, could drive test volumes even higher.”

A resurgence in public awareness in the wake of the 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany, and the continued focus of the European Food Safety Authority on EU-wide systems, could drive test volumes even higher.

In preparing this new and comprehensive review of the European food microbiology testing market, Strategic Consulting (SCI) conducted more than 175 detailed interviews in 11 European countries accounting for 77% of all agricultural/food value-added in the European Union. Because of this primary research with food-processing plants throughout Europe, Food Micro—6 is able to offer new, detailed data on European food safety testing such as test volumes, methods used for routine and pathogen testing, and costs per test performed. Differences in testing practices are analyzed for the meat, dairy, fruits/vegetables, and processed food segments. Variations within countries are outlined, and expected changes in future testing practices are discussed.

“Routine” microbiology tests used in the food processing industry in Europe to indicate the presence of microorganisms in the plant or food product include total bacteria, E. coli, Staphylococcus, yeast and molds. In 2011, these routine tests numbered 225.4 million. The balance of food microbiology tests in Europe were 49.9 million “pathogen” tests, which look for specific microbes such as Salmonella, Listeria, L. mono, Campylobacter, and E. coli O157.

Food Micro—6 also profiles the leading diagnostic companies competing in the food safety testing market including a discussion of new technologies and market strategies. Food Micro—6 includes company profiles for Becton-Dickinson, BioControl, bioMérieux, Bio-Rad, BIOTECON, DuPont Qualicon, Foss A/S, Idaho Technology, Life Technologies (ABI), Merck Millipore, 3M, Neogen, Pall Corporation, QIAGEN, Roka Bioscience, R-Biopharm, SDIX and Thermo Fisher.

Food Micro—6 is a companion report to Food Micro, Fifth Edition: Microbiology Testing in the U.S. Food Industry (Food Micro—5), published by SCI in 2011, which reviews the current practices and changes impacting food safety testing at 9,350 U.S. food processing plants.

Strategic Consulting has published six reports to date reviewing quality and safety testing in the food industry. The food sector represents almost 50% of the total industrial microbiology testing market, and is more than double the size of any other industrial segment including pharmaceutical, personal care products, beverage, environmental, and industrial processes. SCI market research reports are widely accepted by leading diagnostic manufacturers and investors as highly credible analyses of the industry.

For more information about Food Micro, Sixth Edition: Food Microbiology Testing in Europe, call Strategic Consulting’s U.S. office at 802-457-9933.

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Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI) provides market reports and business consulting for industrial diagnostics companies delivering microbiology-based products for quality and safety testing in food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, environmental water, and industrial-process water. With more than 75 combined years of international management in the industrial marketplace, SCI’s principals have proven success in working with venture capital backed start-ups, publicly traded companies, technology acquisitions, and transformation of underachieving companies. For more information on Strategic Consulting, Inc. and its current market reports, visit www.strategic-consult.com or call 802-457-9933. Follow SCI president and industry expert, Tom Weschler, on LinkedIn or Twitter @tomweschler.

 

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New Report on Food Safety Microbiology Testing in Europe Published

Strategic Consulting is pleased to announce the publication of our 15th market research report, Food Micro, Sixth Edition: Food Microbiology Testing in Europe (Food Micro—6).

Food Micro—6 is the first definitive report to focus exclusively on the European food microbiology testing market, and reviews the methods, technologies, companies, regulations and trends shaping food safety testing in Europe.

In preparing this new report, Strategic Consulting (SCI) conducted more than 175 detailed interviews in 11 European countries accounting for 77% of all agricultural/food value-added in the European Union. Because of this primary research with European food-processing plants, Food Micro—6 is able to offer new, detailed data on European food safety testing including:

  • Test volumes
  • Market value
  • Methods used for routine and pathogen testing
  • Costs per test performed
  • Testing practices by segment for meat, dairy, fruits/vegetables, and processed food
  • Variations by country
  • Expected changes in future testing practices

Strategic Consulting has published six reports to date reviewing quality and safety testing in the food industry. The food sector represents almost 50% of the total industrial microbiology testing market, and is more than double the size of any other industrial segment including pharmaceutical, personal care products, beverage, environmental, and industrial processes.

For more information about Food Micro, Sixth Edition: Food Microbiology Testing in Europe, download a prospectus, email info@strategic-consult.com, or call Strategic Consulting’s U.S. office at 802-457-9933.

 

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