INDIA  :   Education

Food Technologists are in great demand

Saturday , 23 January 2016
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Food Technologists are looked upon to provide innovative solutions to the changing eating habits of today’s fast-paced world

Not all professions are traditional. They spring up with changing times and lifestyle. One such profession, which has, of late, become very popular in urban cities, is that of a food technologist. In this new field, the primary job of the food technologist is to increase the life span of food items.

Often associated with food science, food technology deals with packaged food, which is in high demand because of the fast-paced lives of the urban dwellers, across the entire world. India hosts one of the fastest growing food industries and we have been witnessing recently, a spurt in demand for food technologists.

Put simply, Food Technology deals with processing, preserving, treating and distributing food items. A food technologist can also be described as a food scientist, who researches and checks the production of food; and develops new and enhanced ways to create and improve the quality of food products.

Though, food processing existed even during prehistoric period, modern-day technology input to enhance preservation of food, flavour, etc. and to reduce the toxins in food products, is relatively new and has revolutionised the entire food industry.

Modern food processing techniques have led to the feasibility and the emergence of present day supermarkets. The rising consumerism in the societies of developed and developing countries, has contributed greatly to the growth of food processing industries with techniques such as spray drying, juice concentrates, freeze drying and the introduction of artificial sweeteners, colorants and preservatives.

Courses

Some of the courses offered by various institutes in food technology are Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Food Technology, Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Food Technology, Food Science & Quality Control,  Food Science, Nutrition & Food Quality Control and Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.) in Food Technology.

One can also, after completing a bachelor’s degree, go for Master of Engineering (M.E.) in Food Technology, Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Food Technology and Master of Technology (M. Tech.) in Food Technology. Ph. D. in Food Technology can also be pursued, after obtaining a Master’s degree.

While a bachelor’s degree usually takes of 3-4 years full-time course, Master’s is a two-year full-time course.

These courses cover various aspects like food science, food biotechnology, food analysis, microbiology, food preservation techniques, genetics & food packaging, marketing and advertising, food logistics management, operations management, just to highlight only a few of the many aspects of this discipline.

Eligibility Criteria

After completing 10+2 from a recognised board in the science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Maths (PCM) or Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) as main subjects, one can go for a bachelor’s degree or a diploma programme.

A post-graduate course will require a student to have completed his graduation in Food Technology, or in other related fields.

Specialisations

Even as food industry is vast, some of the fields in which one can specialise are Cereals, Dairy, Sugar, Alcohol, Bakery & Confectionary items, Fruits & Vegetables, Meat & Fish, Oil & Oil seed processing, and so on.

Career Prospects

Food technology is a vast and growing industry, hence, career opportunities are available in abundance. Apart from promising careers in hotels, quality control departments, food industries, packaging industries, hospitals, distilleries, soft drink factories and rice mills, etc., Food Technologists can work in research and production laboratories to develop new products, test existing stocks and oversee quality control.

Manufacturing industry opens up the job market in a big way, as this sector needs people from grass-root level, up to high-level positions. Some of the profiles food technologists are assigned to include: Product Developer, Production Supervisor, Production Executive, Quality Controller, Production Manager, Research Director, Research Scientists, Research Supervisors, just to name a few.

A large chunk of food technology graduates and post-graduates are also absorbed by food processing companies, in departments like Production, Quality Assurance, R&D (Research and Development) etc. Those with master’s degree and a Ph. D. can work as lecturers in colleges/universities.

In the public sector, most desirable jobs are offered by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which handles the purchase, storage, transportation and distribution of food grains and other food items. FCI today provides employment to a large number of people. On the other hand, major job providers in private sector include established brands like: Amul, Cadbury, Britannia, Metro Diary, Hindustan Lever, Kellogs, Nestle, Pepsi Co, Coca Cola, Parle G, just to name a few leading ones.

Food firms in foreign countries like the United States, as well as Australia, give special preference to Indian professionals because of the Indian industry’s rich food culture. These apart, restaurants too, provide job opportunities to candidates with degrees in Food Technology, Nutrition and Home Science.

Bacteriologist, toxicologists and those trained in packaging technology, organic chemistry, biochemistry and analytical chemistry can also find openings in food technology laboratories, or in their quality control departments.

Some of the entry level jobs in this industry also include Bakeries, Meat, Poultry, Trimmers, and Fish Cutters, Slaughterers and Meat Packers, Food Batch Makers, Food Cooking Machine Operators, Food Roasters, Baking and Drying Machine Operators.

Top Institutes

Some of the leading institutes offering good education for food technologists are Indian Institute of Business Management & Studies (IIBMS) – Bangalore, Premlila Vithaldas Polytechnic (S.N.D.T Women’s University), John Bauer College of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Mumbai College of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Karunya University – Coimbatore and Central Food Technology Research Institute – Mysore.

Remuneration

A beginner in this industry can earn a salary ranging between Rs 12,000 – Rs 15,000 per month, whereas those with relevant work experience in the industry can easily secure a job paying up to Rs 35,000 per month. Senior management professionals can expect much higher salaries, at times, exceeding Rs 75,000 per month.

Mukesh Kumar, a resident of East Delhi, who is employed with the packaging department of a food product company informed TGI: “I started working right after my studies and got a good job.” He added: “For two years, I was posted at the company’s Goa office. I am often asked to travel internationally, as well. I am absolutely satisfied with my professional growth and I assure everyone out there, that the food technology industry is here to stay.”

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