What to do with a de­gree in food sci­ence

WITH THE IN­DUS­TRY GAIN­ING MO­MEN­TUM, THERE ARE OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES FOR FOOD TECHIES

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Cater­ing to both na­tional and in­ter­na­tional con­sumers, the In­dian food in­dus­try has al­ways had a high de­mand for food tech­nol­ogy pro­fes­sion­als. Food tech­nol­ogy as a sub­ject is an amal­ga­ma­tion of bi­o­log­i­cal sciences, chem­istry, physics and en­gi­neer­ing. It de­mands stu­dents to be highly in­no­va­tive, ap­pli­ca­tion ori­ented and have a grasp of the wide spec­trum of all its prin­ci­ples. Ev­ery food prod­uct we see in stores has a food tech­nol­o­gist sup­port­ing its pres­ence. Here are six in­dus­tries food spe­cial­ists can look at.

Post-har­vest man­age­ment

Han­dling food crops from the point of har­vest and go­ing through pri­mary pro­cess­ing has been done for cen­turies by man. How­ever, the ad­vanced ef­forts of get­ting op­ti­mum out­put with best pro­cesses while re­tain­ing the nu­tri­ents, en­hanc­ing the shelf life and im­prov­ing farmer in­come is done by food tech­nol­o­gists. Farmer pro­ducer or­gan­i­sa­tions run by food tech­nol­o­gists have po­ten­tial for ex­cel­lent re­turns and growth.

Pro­cessed food in­dus­try

Jobs per­tain­ing to prod­uct devel­op­ment and qual­ity man­age­ment are done by food tech­nol­o­gists. A myr­iad of in­gre­di­ents are crafted into prod­ucts and given a longer shelf life with de­tailed stud­ies on food func­tion­al­i­ties, pack­ag­ing and sta­bil­ity stud­ies. Food tech­nol­o­gists han­dle fac­tory pro­duc­tion in large, medium and small-scale in­dus­tries. They fit into both sci­en­tific and man­age­rial roles.

Re­search and devel­op­ment

Both ready-to-eat vari­ants and ad­vanced prod­ucts are be­ing de­vel­oped at a rapid pace. Na­tional re­search lab­o­ra­to­ries and in­dus­trial re­search lab­o­ra­to­ries of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for food tech­nol­o­gists who have in­no­va­tive ap­proach to meet the needs of the con­sumers.

Food anal­y­sis

Food test­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries are be­ing es­tab­lished by pri­vate play­ers; this ver­ti­cal of busi­ness has at­tracted in­ter­na­tional in­vestors. With the bur­geon­ing food in­dus­try, the need for food test­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries has been in­creas­ing. Spe­cific short-term cour­ses and di­ploma cour­ses in food anal­y­sis are avail­able in var­i­ous in­sti­tutes.

Aca­demics

Teach­ing in in­sti­tutes of­fer­ing the sub­ject and en­gag­ing in train­ing pro­grammes for skill devel­op­ment are avail­able to pro­fes­sion­als, as well as the po­ten­tial to be­come fac­ulty. With in­sti­tutes of­fer­ing food tech­nol­ogy as a sub­ject, teach­ing as a ca­reer is on the rise.

En­trepreneur­ship

En­ter­prises, big or small, will do well if run by a trained food tech­nol­o­gist. The best com­pany a food tech­nol­o­gist can work for, is his own. With the govern­ment in­vest­ing in in­cu­ba­tion fa­cil­i­ties, en­trepreneur­ship is a vo­ca­tion for the food tech­nol­o­gist.

RAM RAJASEKHARAN DI­REC­TOR, CEN­TRAL FOOD TECH­NO­LOG­I­CAL RE­SEARCH IN­STI­TUTE (CFTRI), DELHI

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