Innovation at ITC - A fulcrum of growth

For ITC, innovation is a fulcrum of growth, and a core value that constantly fuels the pursuit of excellence in products, services, processes and practices.

The cornerstone of ITC's commitment to purposeful innovation lies in creating sharp-focused R&D platforms in areas aligned to market opportunities. ITC's Life Sciences and Technology Centre (LSTC), Bengaluru, which celebrates its golden jubilee this year, is the Company's hub of innovation and is driven by strategic investments in key science-based platforms in emerging areas. ITC LSTC collaborates with Businesses to integrate science-based ideas across value chains.

Reinforced with world-class infrastructure, resourced with a diverse team of over 400 highly qualified scientists, ITC LSTC is leading various initiatives to provide a competitive edge to ITC's brands and products, fulfilling the needs of the Indian consumer.

Over 800 patent applications have been filed by ITC LSTC till date. Robust risk management practices ensure that ITC's intellectual properties remain protected.

Powering 'ITC Next'

Over the years, ITC LSTC has emerged as a strong innovation engine that enables the 'ITC Next' growth strategy. Focused research has enabled ITC LSTC teams to harness contemporary advances in relevant areas to translate 'proofs of concept' to novel product opportunities. ITC LSTC's research programmes and projects are closely aligned with ITC's Businesses, resulting in a robust innovation pipeline. This has established ITC as a forerunner in introducing first-to-market, differentiated and innovative products for Indian consumers.

ITC LSTC's Centres of Excellence across domains - Biosciences, Agri-sciences and Materials, Beauty & Hygiene, Heath & Wellness, Agro-forestry & Crop Sciences and Sustainable Packaging Materials - are behind the creation of ITC's superior, world-class Indian brands, contributing significantly to the nation's economy. ITC LSTC's unique competencies in Materials and Packaging have enabled the development of recyclable flexible packaging options and bio-compostable coating solutions.

In Agro-Forestry and Crop Science Platforms, ITC LSTC has an ambitious R&D programme on improving yield and quality, given the rising challenges of climate change and depleting resources. Ongoing research on climate resilient crops and pulp wood seeks to address the security of raw material supplies across ITC's value chains, while ensuring enhanced farmer profitability. Research on wheat and potato varietal securitisation are at advanced stages of development to achieve flexibility in sourcing of raw material, create region-specific blends and ensure robust agro-climatic adaptability. Future-ready, alternate value chains that mitigate risks arising out of disruptions to existing sourcing models continue to be explored.

ITC LSTC, in collaboration with the Agri and Branded Packaged Foods Businesses, endeavours to ensure that science-based ideas are fully integrated across the value chain from farm to fork. Science-based programmes continue to be leveraged to drive creation of healthier foods through systematic reduction in salt, sugar and fat without compromising on sensory attributes.

ITC LSTC's modern testing facilities include estimation of disease resistance in plant varieties, determination of biodegradability of newly developed materials for sustainable packaging, detection of extraneous materials in foods and prediction of packaged product structural stability during transit.

The way forward

In its quest to be future-ready, ITC LSTC is developing and deploying bespoke tools and dashboards for quality performance analytics and competition benchmarking, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technological platforms to strengthen quality management systems (via product/process optimisation).

Rigorous systems, processes and industry best practices are continuously upgraded to secure quality certifications of the highest levels - a key enabler in delivering products that follow the highest standards in quality, safety and efficacy.

ITC will continue to identify opportunities to create new value chains leveraging R&D insights emerging from contemporary sciences and ITC's diverse core competencies.

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