Last week I was invited to share my thoughts on Role of R&D in Food sector for innovation and food safety, at a conference organized by AIFPA and MOFPI. The topic is very close to my heart and I started to hone up my presentation by looking at the numbers on R&D spent by dairy sector. With this issue I would like to share my brief journey and understanding on this subject. I would like to begin with the following quote by someone.
"It is insane to expect different results by doing the same things over and over again."
Looking at all the emerging industry, what I found that none of the top 10 innovative companies in the world since 2010 were from food sector. I also could not find more than 1.5 % as total spent by any food company in the world including dairy on R&D since 2008.
Pharma, IT, Automobiles were amongst the few sectors spending a huge amount on R&D. India as a whole is also not spending more than 0.6 % of its GDP on R&D.
With such background information, it was very difficult for me to actually share any in depth analysis for the seminar. So I stopped researching and started to reflect upon the complete landscape of Indian dairy industry since last 60-70 years.
We have been very contended with ;
2 types of milk with 5 variants i.e pasteurised milk and UHT milk in skimmed, toned, double toned, standardised and FCM.
2 types of cottage Cheese : panir and channa
4 flavors of flavored milk
3 type of Khoa (Pnidi, danedar and Dhap)
2 types of cheeses namely Cheddar and Mozarella
1 type of Butter
2 types of ghee i.e Cow and buffalo ( thanks to Patanjali)
2 types of curd ( normal and premium)
2 types of butter milk ( normal and masala)
2 types of Lassi normal and mango
1 type of cream in UHT
1 type of dairy whitener ( after the dairy creamer era)
2 types of dried milk i.e SMP and WMP
2 types of Gulab Jamun ( round and oblong)
2 types of Barfi ( plain and pista)
1 type of sweetened Condensed milk
2 types of malted foods ( brown and white)
2 types of Rasogolla ( soft and hard (with maida))
It led to two questions in my mind :
1. How many companies in India have product patents ?and more important on How many of those patented products are commercially successful ?
2. How many patentable technologies developed by all National level research institutions (in any area of dairy sector )have been successfully commercialized ?
I would like the revered audience of this mail to reflect back upon their out of the country visits and recall how many different kinds of dairy products in each category mentioned above are available in those markets ?
The missing link is R&D , though a large number of dairy companies are now setting up their own product development centers to come out with new products. But we must avoid doing cosmetic changes to our products while thinking of New Product Development which is very common to all the industries.
To gain leadership in product innovation for a sector a company must spend around 5-7 % of its turnover and the innovation must not arise out of products but also from out of the box.
We are living in an era where the likelihood of a disruptive innovation in any industry is coming from other industry so we may require to think beyond dairy and find next disruption coming from some sector other than the dairy.
Last suggestion for your New Product Development Center : Make it 100 % digitally disconnected as Google and facebook have made whole of internet a silent killer of creativity. (As per Tim Lee the founder of www in his recent tweet on12 March on 29th anniversary of www).
Happy e learning.
with best regards
Chief Thinking Officer
Suruchi Consultants (ISO 9001:2008 Company)