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Career Course in Food Technology : : Study Centres for Food Technology Courses
The concept of packed and processed food is picking up at a fast pace with growing consumerism and nonavailability of time. This concept has caught the imagination of consumers in recent years because of enhanced convenience, variety, nutritional value and taste. It has also brought about a surge in the demand of packed and processed food, which has taken the seat of elaborate home – made food. The challenge therefore lies in continuously developing new varieties of food items, which contain minimal amount of chemicals and preservatives yet have optimum appeal and shelf – life.
The bulging consumerism has seen the introduction of a new range of products which include ready – to – eat snacks, breakfast cereals, vegetables, protein foods, etc. The field today is witnessing a major boom and growth. All these factors present a very encouraging picture of the future of food technologists in India. Food Technology is the study of manufacture, storage, preservation, canning, packaging and distribution of food products.
The technology includes all types of food like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, milk, cereals, spices, etc. In this rapidly expanding fast – track industry, the food technologist is a key player. He plays a vital role in examining the food, checking for contamination and adulteration and certifying its nutritional value. The job of a food technologist also includes the devising of new and improved techniques for processing, conservation and preservation of food items. He has to develop new and modified products and processes. A food technologist has to check and improve quality control procedures at the working place, from the raw material stage to the finished product stage.
He also has to do research on current consumer markets and latest technologies to develop new product ideas. Addressing the issues of safety and quality, carrying out process support and development, new product development and quality control are a part of food technologist’s job profile. Food technologists study the physical, microbiological and chemical make – up of the food. They then accordingly develop ways to process, preserve, package or store food as. per the consumers’ needs. A vast array of research and development is put to deliver tasty, nutritious and convenient food.
A food technologist should make sure that the hygienic conditions and proper procedures are maintained during the processing and packaging of food. He should supervise the transportation of food stuff and inspect for spoilage.
A food technologist should have a scientific bent of mind, power of observation, intelligence, interest in scientific and technological development and interest in health and nutrition. Other useful traits required for aspiring food technologists include sense of responsibility, ability to work well as a part of a team, effective communication skills and a discerning approach to food items. A genuine interest in science, high standards of cleanliness, commitment, enthusiasm and motivation are other ‘must haves’ for this job. High observation skills and a high, level of accuracy are very essential to be a food technologist.
For admission in undergraduate course in Food Technology, the candidate should have Physics, Maths, Chemistry and Biology at 10+2 level. To get admission in an M.Sc. course in Food Technology, a B.Sc. degree in Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology or a B.Tech. in Food Technology is a pre – requisite. Home Science – graduates or higher degree holders in Nutrition / Dietetics and Hotel Management graduates are also eligible for higher studies in Food Technology.
After the successful completion of 10+2 or equivalent examination, the candidate can pursue short – term certificate, craft and diploma courses at various institutes and universities. Food craft institutes and institutes of hotel management, catering and nutrition conduct one year’s full – time certificate courses in bakery and confectionery, canning and food preservation.
For this, the aspirant should have passed 10+2 with 50% marks. Various Indian universities including M.S. University, Vadodara; SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, CSK Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Himachal Pradesh; National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, etc., offer study programmes in food science and technology. There are many institutes of hotel management, catering and nutrition in various parts of the country which offer short term courses and training in several preservation programmes of fruits and vegetables, preparation of bakery and confectionery items, etc. All the courses in this field demand a background in science.
Food technologists having professional qualifications are very easily absorbed by food processing companies, food research laboratories, hotels, restaurants and catering establishments, etc. A candidate gets a minimum salary of [rupee] 10,000 – 15,000 per month. After a sound industrial exposure, one can earn a handsome amount of money. The entrepreneurial opportunities in this sector, which generate a lot of money, are also increasing at a rapid pace. Prospects – The prospects in Food Technology industry are growing fast as the processed and packed food has taken the first seat in the priority list of consumers. A plethora of employment opportunities are in store for the candidates interested in food processing and food technology industry.
Food technologists can find jobs in various industry sectors which include food and beverages manufacturing companies, retailing organisations, research and development, food processing and equipment manufacturing organisations, health departments, educational institutions and government bodies.
There are ample opportunities for self employment in the form of dynamic delivery networks and home catering services operated by food entrepreneurs. In research and development laboratories, the food technologists conduct experiments to help improve the yield, appearance, flavour and nutritional value. The public sector undertakings under the Department of Food also recruit the people in this field. The Food Corporation of India handles the purchase, storage, transport and distribution of food grains and other items. Companies like Britannia, Nestle, Cadbury, etc., are a few major players of this field.
A few other job options in this sector include :
- Production Manager : The job of a production manager is to supervise the production of processed food from the finding and storage of raw material to processing and packaging of the final product.
- Quality Assurance Manager : A quality assurance manager has to examine all the raw materials, equipment and the end products. The manager has to work on the appearance, flavour and aroma of the product.
- Food Packaging Manager : The job of a food packaging manager is to develop packaging and filling equipment by choosing and keeping in mind the distinct properties of a food item.
- Product Development Manager : A product development manager has to assess the market for consumer behaviour. The job is to find new products and work towards the improvement of existing ones.
- Laboratory Supervisor : A laboratory supervisor has to analyse the. food chemically and perform microbiological and chemical analyses to make sure that the end product is of high quantity and quality.
Food Inspectors; The public sector undertakings employ food technologists as food inspectors or health inspectors. With experience, one can also work as a freelance consultant, health doctor in school / colleges and food writer. The field is expanding rapidly considering that food is the most basic object required to live. Also, the sudden spurt of activity in bio – technology presents various opportunities to the food technologists to expand their horizon and fields of application.