Written by Deepthi Sendilkumar
ALGAE PARTNER FEATURE: POORVANG AGRAWAL
Spira is extremely fortunate to partner with producers across the globe and share their stories. In efforts to create a more sustainable world with a responsible supply chain, we believe in providing consumers with transparency to the food system. We are delighted to introduce: Poorvang Agrawal, Director of NB Laboratories and his family’s prestigious algae farm.
POORVANG'S FIRST STEPS
NB Laboratories located in Nagpur, India started as a nutraceutical manufacturing site founded by Poorvang’s father and uncle. They spent time researching the superfood, although not much information was present at the time which led them to establish the spirulina manufacturing unit in 2002.
Upon graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, Poorvang joined the family business as the Director of Business Development. He strongly believes in the potential of spirulina and consumes the superfood every day. Spirulina being the king of superfood, “Spirulina can be used early to combat malnutrition. With less than $0.50/day, one can receive all their required daily nutrition.”
OPERATIONS AT NB LABORATORIES
With 150 employees, 30 acres of land and several ponds, NB Laboratories produces 250 metric tons/year of spirulina and is currently India’s second-largest producer.
NB Laboratories also focuses on energy security. With the recent installation of solar panels, they hope to use renewable energy for the paddle wheels and the overall drying process. Opposed to the conventional sun drying technique, Poorvang explained how using sunlight is uncontrolled and needs more space. Recently NB Laboratories acquired 15 more acres of land and they are excited to implement new technologies and further expansion.
USP: QUALITY-FOCUSED SPIRULINA OPERATIONS
Poorvang believes that its attention to high-quality spirulina and sanitary operations sets them apart from other manufacturers in the country. They have 9 international credentials: EU-Organic, NOP, NPOP, Kosher, Halal, FSSC:22000, FSSAI, ISO:9001-2015, cGMP with stringent quality checkpoints to meet international market standards. Taking only 30 minutes to process spirulina from the pond into powder, their process reduces holding time which in turn reduces microbial growth.
Outside Laboratory testing is carried out from time to time for the Raw material, in-process material, packing material & finished goods. Each batch is tested for physical, chemical & microbial parameters as per USP standards.
FUTURE OF SPIRULINA & NL LABORATORIES
When asked about the future of Spirulina, Poorvang hopes to see spirulina as a household product. Due to COVID-19, Poorvang has noticed a spike in spirulina sales as the general public in India has growing concerns about their health and wellness. Hence, many Indians move from a reactive to proactive outlook on health where they invest in preventative measures such as spirulina.
As for NB Laboratories, Poorvang hopes to educate people and showcase his products by attending premium food exhibitions across globe the such as VitaFoods & SupplySide. NB Laboratories also partners with an educational institute in Mumbai where research is being done about carbon absorption. As of now, they have estimated that around 1kg spirulina absorbs 2kg carbon dioxide, and is continuing to research carbon sequestering.
Poorvang is now completing his MBA in India. and our team at Spira looks forward to supporting and watching his and NB Laboratories' next steps.