With the expansions in the food industry, this sector offers a variety of sustainable job roles
With land and water being limited resources, agriculture tends to face restrictions when it comes to food production. Therefore Biotechnology is used to enhance both production and the nutritional quality. Food Technology, which involved Biotechnology and Food Plant Engineering, is a scientific stream that deals with the conversion of raw edible agricultural produce into processed edible and innovative food products.
Techniques like genetic engineering, cloning and selective cultivation help increase the quantity of raw food material. The sensory acceptability of fruits and vegetables can also be enhanced. In the fermented food sector, probiotics, enzymes and single-cell proteins can be identified and developed. Food Technology can also help in sectors like cleaning, hygiene maintenance, smart packaging and shelf life of food.
Food Plant engineering includes processing methods, preservation by drying, low temperature or heat treatment. Food Process Engineering covers the design and process of equipment construction and the types of equipment used to package food, maintenance of food storage area, automation and use of robotics for facilitation of food workers.
A B.Tech in Food Technology has foundation courses like Chemistry, Physics, Engineering Design, Heat and Mass Transfer, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and Maths along with specialised courses about cereals, pulses, meat, poultry and fish processing, milk and milk product, bakery and confectionery, food chemistry, additives, food quality assurance, food microbiology, food safety and hygiene, and fruit and vegetable processing.
With the consumption of value-added and processed foods increasing, the food industry has expanded. New innovative techniques, scientific procedures, and new processing equipment have led to products with higher shelf life and specific foods are being developed for every age group. The work of a food processor begins after the harvest of crops. The quality of raw material, how it is transported and stored, pre-processing and final processing, packaging, storage and marketing, taste, and shelf life all come into this.
Food Technology is a promising sector that offers a sustainable and secure career with competitive earnings. Students opting for this field learn about basic processing methods and principles of processing, sources of raw food materials, post-harvest processing, transportation and storage of raw food and processed food products. They also learn about extracting ingredients, additives and the combinations to prepare a specific product apart from testing for quality and safety.
Apart from the government and the private sector, one can also become an entrepreneur. Job roles range from lab analyst, food processing operator, machinery inspection, food handler, research scientists, organic chemists, food inspector, managers and accountants. Hospitals, restaurants, food processing companies, catering services, food research labs, retailers, wholesalers, packaging industry and government bodies like FSSAI and FCI and warehouses are all areas to look for jobs.
The writer is the Dean, UPES School of Health Sciences, UPES University