Food Safety Testing Shifts to 3rd Party Contract Testing Labs

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A new report from Strategic Consulting, Inc. details the growing trend in food companies to send quality and safety testing offsite to third party contract testing laboratories. The volume of food testing conducted at contract labs is growing at a faster rate than the total food testing market, and is expected to continue to do so over the next five years.

Food Contract Testing Labs, food safety testing, market research, Strategic Consulting, SCI
The volume of food testing conducted at contract labs is growing at a faster rate than the total food testing market, and is expected to continue to do so over the next five years.

According to a new market report from Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI), food companies around the world increasingly rely on 3rd party contract testing laboratories for their food quality and safety testing. In 2013, worldwide revenue for food contract testing labs will exceed $3 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.4%. SCI’s Food Contract Lab Report (FCLR) is the first report to examine this market segment in detail, and reviews test volumes, revenues and emerging trends in quality and safety testing conducted by third party laboratories for food companies around the world.

With the volume of food testing conducted at contract labs growing at a faster rate than the food testing market as a whole, this trend has implications for both food companies and diagnostic test manufacturers. The shift to contract testing labs for their food quality and safety testing means that food companies are increasingly dependent on third party laboratories outside their food plants for the integrity of their quality and safety programs. It also has the potential to significantly impact the companies that manufacture food diagnostic tests and instruments, as a greater portion of their business is determined by the performance requirements of contract testing laboratories.

Prior to 1980, most food company programs for quality and safety testing were fully integrated and self-reliant, with trained staff and specialized equipment to collect and analyze food samples managed in laboratories located at the food plant. After 1980, specialized food laboratories began to spring up, both at central corporate locations and at independent third party labs, in response to the growing complexity, cost and volume of testing required by food producers and retailers.

As food companies began to realize that they could get timely and accurate test results from outside laboratories that focused on food quality and safety testing, the trend has accelerated. In addition, food quality standards such as HACCP and new regulations due to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have increased the process, documentation and accreditation requirements for food quality and safety programs and laboratories.

The first ever report to examine the food contract testing laboratory in detail, Food Contract Lab Report tracks the revenues, test volumes and services of third party contract testing labs, which are becoming increasingly integral to food companies around the world. The Report includes revenues, test volumes and growth rates by geographic region (North America, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world) and by business area (microbiology, chemistry and services).

FCLR is based in part on primary research conducted for SCI’s 2013 report, Food Micro, Eighth Edition: Microbiology Testing in the Global Food Industry. Food Micro—8 tracks and compares microbiology test volumes, market values and methods used by food producers around the world, based on detailed interviews with more than 450 food production facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, including China and India.

To download a detailed prospectus for Food Contract Lab Report or Food Micro—8 visit


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 75 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 Follow SCI president and industry expert Tom Weschler on LinkedIn or Twitter @TomWeschler.

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Mary Hawkins

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