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By TPCI | November 14, 2019

Desmet Ballestra Group is a huge multinational conglomerate, which develops, engineers and supplies technologies, processing plants and proprietary equipment for various business segments such as Oils & Fats, Oleo chemicals and Biodiesels, Animal Feed and Agro Food etc. It enjoys a celebrated track record of setting up more than 7,500 processing units in 152 countries and today has a worldwide reputation and presence with exports to countries spanning almost all over the world.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Desmet Ballestra India Pvt Ltd is a critical part of the group business. In fact the company boasts of having one of the largest technical teams in India dedicated to the vegetable oil industry. Talking about the success of the group and its Indian division, Srinath Shetty, VP Sales & Marketing also reveals how the company masters various processing operations in India in this interaction with Indusfood-Tech.

Indusfood-Tech: Tell us about the company’s formation and growth story? How have you evolved as a business in India and abroad?
Srinath Shetty: Desmet Ballestra India Pvt. Ltd. started its business enterprise in India in 1985 and is headquartered in Bangalore. Its team now includes over 230 personnel, the majority of which are technical & have vast experience, making it one of the largest technical teams in India dedicated to the vegetable oil industry.

With a network of 17 local subsidiaries throughout the world and a track record of setting up more than 7,500 processing units in 152 countries, the Desmet Ballestra Group is a world leader in the fields of engineering and supply of plants and equipment for Oils & Fats and Animal Feed industries; Oleochemical and Biodiesel industries; Detergents, Surfactants and related Chemical industries.

Desmet Ballestra's reference list includes the major edible oil manufacturers in India and a majority of well-known brands are coming from Desmet plants. We have also been exporting to countries almost all over the world including Europe, South America, Africa, and Middle East.

The Desmet Ballestra Group, which was created back in 1946, resulted from the merger of best-in-class companies in their field and benefits from a great worldwide reputation of excellence, thanks to over 70 years of unequalled experience, a strong R&D capacity and the most extensive customer references in the industry.

Indusfood-Tech: What are the key product categories you cater to? And what are the major end use sectors where you are witnessing good demand for your equipment?
SS: The Desmet Ballestra Group is the world leader in developing, engineering and supplying technologies, processing plants and proprietary equipment for the following business areas:
1. Oils & Fats
2. Rosedowns Pressing
3. Stolz Animal Feed & Agro Food
4. Oleochemicals & Biodiesel
5. Detergents, Surfactants & Chemicals
6. Mazzoni LB Soap

Desmet Ballestra masters the processing of 40 raw materials, of which soybeans, palm oil, sunflower seed, rapeseed, groundnuts, and cottonseed are probably the most popular. The group has supplied small and large plants to some 1,700 oil millers in 150 countries, covering over 8,000 process sections.

Indusfood-Tech: How strong has been the role of the R&D for your business to be a success? Any major R&D/innovations that you might wish to share with us?
SS: Desmet Ballestra is now an integrated operation enabling to coordinate its worldwide activities making the best use of the very important technical, technological and commercial synergies existing between its operations and to provide competitive services, plants and equipment globally sourced.

Through its full-fledge Research & Developments Centres, in Brussels and Milan, and a number of Fundamental Research programs in various Universities and Research Centres in the world, Desmet Ballestra is continuously improving its technologies and discovering new ways to cope with the market requirements.

Desmet Ballestra’s R&D team is composed of specialized professionals. With years of practical experience in the related industries, it has fully equipped analytical and research laboratories, flexible pilot units, including skid-mounted units available for testing at customer’s facility.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you plan to expand your business in the next five years?
SS: By having an advanced understanding of our customers and their needs, we will develop and supply sustainable technologies of superior quality. We shall achieve this goal through an organisation that attracts the finest people and maintains our historic principles of integrity and long-term relationships.

Desmet Ballestra is now an integrated operation enabling to coordinate its worldwide activities, making the best use of the very important technical, technological and commercial synergies existing between its operations and to provide competitive services, plants and equipment globally sourced. By the successful pursuit of our commitment, we expect to maintain our leadership in the industry.

Indusfood-Tech: How is the food processing equipment industry expected to grow in the future? What will be the drivers of the growth?
SS: The farm to kitchen chain is going to change in India, like elsewhere, with increased agricultural production, better storage facilities, more food processing and changing consumer food preference.

Food processing is going to be one of the principal industries of India in future. In terms of market size, the Indian food market was worth US$ 193 billion in 2016 and is expected to cross US$ 540 billion in 2020 as per the market survey. The sector has been growing at a rate of 12% annually.

The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.

A large population and rising urban and rural incomes are driving the demand, while external demand is driving the increase in agricultural exports from India. High proportion of agricultural land, diverse agro-climatic conditions encourage cultivation of different crops.

Indusfood-Tech: What has been the progress of your business on the export front and which are the main markets you have successfully penetrated? What are your future strategies to tap your potential target markets?
SS: Controlled by Financière DSBG, a holding company based in Paris, France, the Desmet Ballestra Group is present in all major market areas of the world through its integrated business units located in Northern and Central America (USA, Mexico), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia), Asia & Far East (PR China, Singapore, Malaysia), India and Europe (Belgium, France, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom).

We have also been exporting to countries almost all over the world including Europe, South America, Africa, and Middle East. Beyond this direct presence, the Group's expertise is also conveyed through a dense network of local agents and commercial partners on all continents.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you see Indus Food-Tech as a platform for the growth of the industry?
SS: Indusfood-Tech is a global platform to showcase food and drink technology and equipment to the buyers representing the food processing in India and the world. The show will enable International and Indian food processing machinery and equipment manufacturers to showcase their latest technology to leading food processors from various countries.

It also provides a common platform for buyers and trade visitors from India, Asia, Africa and CIS countries to ensure fruitful meetings which leads to business opportunities. We are looking forward for successful collaborations through Indusfood-Tech.