How do consolidation and integration impact marketing to food safety scientists?
Like every other business segment in the world, the scientific products industry has grown and consolidated as it has matured. Innovation leads to commercialization, which leads to expansion, acquisition and consolidation. Future generations will debate whether this cycle of business hindered innovation in the long run, or enabled growth in a highly competitive global economy.
The top providers of scientific instruments and supplies to the food testing market also supply other vertical markets. In food safety testing, they provide products which deal with four types of contamination detection:
These top scientific instrument and supply makers also offer everything from basic consumables to chemicals and reagents to sophisticated analytical instrumentation. In the top 10 companies, three of the biggest suppliers of food safety testing equipment and supplies are Thermo Fisher Scientific, Danaher Corporation, and Mettler Toledo.In the top 10 companies, three of the biggest suppliers of food safety testing equipment and supplies are Thermo Fisher Scientific, Danaher Corporation, and Mettler Toledo. Click To Tweet
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific has a long history, starting out as Thermo Electron in 1956 as an MIT project founded to develop satellite batteries. In 2004, at $4Bin revenue, it became the “World’s Leader in Serving Science,” growing to over $25B in annual revenue through an ongoing series of acquisitions. Having now made over 56 acquisitions, Thermo is an expert at marketing and brand management as well as financial and operational integration.
Thermo has done a great job of creating a strong company culture founded on the 4 I’s: Integrity, Intensity, Innovation, and Involvement.
Thermo Fisher Scientific also has a strong mission statement: “To enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.” To a large extent, their leadership has built and perfected a portfolio of products and services that enable the company and its 70,000 employees to do just that. A substantial amount of Thermo products are found in plants and laboratories engaged in food processing and food safety testing.
Danaher was founded in 1984, and like Thermo, the company has grown through acquisitions, although with a slightly different corporate culture. The Danaher Business System (DBS) focuses on instilling quality and its business system into each integration through the 4 P’s — People, Plan, Process, and Performance — that are the foundation of DBS.
Since its founding, Danaher has acquired over 125 companies and has reached $19B in revenue. The mission of Danaher and its 59,000 employees is to “Help realize life’s potential.” Danaher products and services support food processing and food safety testing through their Environmental & Applied Solutions and Life Sciences divisions.
In 1947, Dr. Erhard Mettler revolutionized the laboratory when he invented the mechanical laboratory substitution balance, freeing scientists from using the traditional two-pan balance for weighing. From these humble beginnings, the company has not lost sight of its focus on serving the needs of scientists.
Mettler Toledo is perhaps the most integrated scientific provider in the food safety and testing industry, providing laboratory instruments, process instruments and on-line and at line inspection equipment for finished products. Mettler Toledo uses a unique corporate structure, splitting its business units up into Marketing Organizations and Production Organizations.
The MO/PO approach has proven successful, as evidenced by their market domination in the segments they serve, as well as their constant innovation of products. They are a marketing powerhouse, with a significant focus on science and food production and testing.
Table 1: Food Safety Testing Suppliers, Brands and Capabilities
|Brands or Acquisitions
|Representative types of products and instrumentation
Integrated DNA Technologies
|HPLC/MS, flow cytometry, microscopy, microplate readers, rapid microbiology platforms, water quality testing products.
|Weighing instruments, laboratory material handling products and consumables, titrators, density determination. At-line and on-line product inspection products such as metal detectors and x-ray systems.
|Thermo Fisher Scientific
Unity Lab Services
|Consumables, analytical instruments, chemicals, reagents, services. At-line and on-line product inspection products such as metal detectors and x-ray systems.
Table 2: Global Food Safety Testing Suppliers and Revenue Estimates
|Estimated Food Processing / Safety Revenue USD (global estimate)
|Thermo Fisher Scientific
What does this mean for customers?
The global market for food safety testing equipment and supplies is estimated at $4B USD. For food safety customers, consolidated suppliers offer one-stop shopping for products, which, through the suppliers’ over time, have become integrated and interoperable.
Interoperability using standard software and analysis programs is a tremendous benefit to customers, given the understanding that food safety testing products are tools, and the results are what really matters.Interoperability using standard software and analysis programs is a tremendous benefit to customers, given the understanding that food safety testing products are tools, and the results are what really matters. Click To Tweet
Integrated, professional service and support means less frustration and downtime.
Because of big R&D budgets and shared technology, innovation is alive and well in the field of food safety testing. On the other hand, the consolidation of food safety testing equipment and supplies can mean higher support costs, fewer choices, and accelerated obsolescence.
What does this mean for marketers?
For professionals engaged in marketing to the food safety community, these giants in the industry offer many benefits to customers. However, each company can find itself struggling to stand out from their competition. Marketers in the food safety testing industry still have to deliver results-oriented messages and positioning that help prospects understand the unique value of an offering that may not appear unique on the surface.
If you need help with marketing related to food safety testing, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.