Innovation is central to the Kersia group’s DNA and its mission, Inventing a food safe world. It is an intrinsic element of the group’s business and the driver for every member of the Kersia group. In a world where there are daily threats to food safety as a result of unprecedented, changing and often unforeseeable issues, the challenges to be addressed involve thinking outside the box of incremental adjustment and finding new, sustainable options for approaching our work. This means continuously anticipating change.
Our mission is to preserve balances within living systems that are always inherently imbalanced. Consequently, foresight is one of the four core values that guide Kersia and all its employees. Our multidisciplinary teams work on a cross-functional, multicultural “project” basis, combining complementary skills and experience (R&D, marketing, field sales, regulatory specialists, etc.) from different countries and a variety of industry cultures.
Seven billion human beings today, nine billion in 2050…population growth and the rise in living standards in many countries are increasing demand for food throughout the world and the desire for access to more sophisticated sources of protein. In parallel, people are concerned for the future of the planet and expect sustainable production channels and solutions that leave no residues associated with their use. To fulfil this dual requirement, we are working on developing alternative “green” solutions to complement, and in some cases to replace, chemicals. We are achieving this by using biosourced materials, using less water and generating fewer residues, with concern for protecting operators and the impact of using the recommended solutions. As a result, the proportion of sustainable “green solutions” in the Kersia product range for farmers and manufacturers now accounts for a significant percentage of our production.
Kersia’s two microbiology laboratories (in France and Ireland) provide the group with specialist centres of excellence for investigating the micro-organisms present in food. These micro-organisms are vital for manufacturing foods such as yoghurt, cheese, bread and wine, but can also be responsible for their deterioration. Our experts’ cumulative expertise in food microbiology gives them a major role in knowledge-sharing when contamination warnings are issued, and in paving the way and developing disruptive innovations specifically for farm and food industry settings. In addition to standard solutions, we also offer integrated services, therefore. Every farm and facility is provided with the specific expertise it needs to guarantee food safety.
Four priority action areas
Prevent the reappearance of biofilms
Biofilms are responsible for the contamination of many finished food industry products and for food poisoning in consumers, making them a major concern right along the production and distribution chain. Kersia has developed innovative approaches to fight these communities of micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, algae or protozoa) which secrete a protective adhesive matrix that allows them to adhere to each other and to a surface. Our R&D teams face the major everyday challenge of finding new solutions for more precise decryption of biofilms to enable tighter control and prevent them from reappearing. In parallel, Kersia is collaborating on R&D relating specifically to biofilms, how they develop, their particular characteristics and how to eliminate them in food industry settings. The best experts are involved.
Predictive analysis to enhance food safety and optimise solutions
Kersia adopts an all-encompassing approach to food safety from farm to fork. Our teams in the field continuously share the results achieved on farms or in factories right along the food chain, providing a source of essential information for our R&D teams. Data flow visualization and processing will, in turn, drive a preventive approach based on predictive analysis of the risks and the most effective solutions. This approach is central to the expertise of Kersia’s teams and helps provide solutions that are consistent with facilities’ productivity requirements and with crucial progress towards reasonable use of solutions for disinfection.
Clean water to be conserved
Kersia is the world leader in the production of water disinfection tablets: its Aquatabs® effervescent tablets provide millions of people with access to drinking water from polluted water. The group is also a well-known player in hospital hygiene, at the forefront of the fight against biofilms. In 2018, Klorkleen 2 sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) tablets developed by Kersia to combat biofilms in hospital settings were the first and only product to pass the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new efficacy protocol. Our R&D teams have also developed exclusive measurement and optimisation systems enabling significant reductions in water consumption.
Animal health and welfare
Health, food, transport, suffering…people are increasingly concerned about how the animals that supply them with part of their diet (milk, meat, eggs, etc.) are raised. Society’s expectations are currently ahead of regulations. Kersia works alongside farmers on changing farming practices and gaining recognition for progress in terms of product quality, creating business value. As such, Kersia’s Research & Development Department has developed a unique formula for the design of boluses. Patented, with controlled effervescence, they release the necessary nutrient intakes in accordance with controlled disintegration.
Three tools for action
Kersia’s teams have three major tools for action in respect of innovation:
A network of Farm Ambassadors
Kersia liaises closely with a network of farmers to test out innovative approaches. With farms being the first link in the food chain, this kind of feedback helps to ensure that increasingly, milk and meat are free from residues and unwelcome metabolites. Proximity is key for developing and validating solutions that consider the whole of the system in place on the farm.
In partnership with schools, universities and start-ups
Innovation at Kersia is also based on partnerships with research centres and higher education institutions. A strategic partnership has been formed with the Institute for Global Food Security of Queen’s University of Belfast. A number of these are underway or are being launched in laboratories at the French universities of Rennes and Lyon. Naturally, the theses focus on our priority action areas. In the same vein, Kersia is striving to develop an ecosystem of start-ups working on innovative approaches to ensure food safety.
Kersia’s teams are striving to develop new “product” solutions and new supporting protocols using data processing.
One of our group’s strengths lies in developing a collaborative culture based on sharing, proficiency and foresight. Our employees’ ideas are tomorrow’s success stories! In 2018, Kersia held its first Innovation Day, when our 940 employees took part in a 24-hour brainstorming session. Today, our teams are working on ideas that came out of that event.