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Food Processing

Introduction


Food processing is a branch of food science, which owes its existence to the prehistoric times. Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food for the consumption of humans and animals. Processing of food leads to preservation of food, enhances its flavor and reduces the toxins in the food product. It leads to better distributional efficiency and helps in the easy marketing of the food product. The modern food processing techniques have led to the feasibility of the development of the present day supermarkets. Long voyages would not be possible, and military campaigns would be more difficult and expensive to execute without food processing. Extra nutrients can also be added while processing the food and processed food is less susceptible to spoilage. The rising consumerism in the societies of developed and developing countries has contributed to the growth of food processing with techniques such as spray drying, juice concentrates, freeze drying and the introduction of artificial sweeteners, colorants, and preservatives. In the late 20th century products such as dried instant soups, reconstituted fruits and juices, and self cooking meals were developed for the convenience of middle class wives and mothers and for the working women.
In India Food Processing industry is gaining momentum as the consumer food industry, which includes pasta, breads, cakes, pastries, corn flakes, ready to eat and ready to cook products, cocoa products, biscuits, soft drinks, beer, alcohol beverages, mineral and packaged water and segment of consumer foods is seeing an upward trend.

Job Prospects


The Cabinet of India on June 21, 2007, granted its approval to an integrated plan, which aims to promote India's food processing sector and boost the country's agricultural business (according to a press release). As per the report there are about 300 Million upper and-middle-class consumers of processed and packaged food in the country, and another 200 Million are likely to be added by 2010. Ministry of Food Processing Industries is planning to establish 500 food parks in the Tenth Five Year Plan across every parliamentary constituency. This will give a further boost to the growth and development of food processing industries and thereby is generating a huge job potential for those who have an aptitude for the work and required qualifications.
The food processing industry is still at its nascent stage in India. It thus provides ample employment opportunities. The areas where one can find employment in this industry are:
Some other back-end jobs in this industry are:
The major players in private sector in this industry in India are:

Nature of Work


Food technologists, technicians, bio technologists and engineers are required in this industry for the practical application of the principles of many disciplines of science in the manufacturing or production, preservation and packaging, processing and canning of various food products. All this needs preparation of raw materials for processing which involves selection, or cleaning of the raw material, followed by the actual processing, which could be chopping, blanching, crushing, mixing or even cooking of the food item, the addition of preservatives and the final packaging along with keep in hygiene and maintaining quality of products. Following people are needed for the work in food processing industry:

Personality


Following the personal attributes required in this industry

Professional Courses


Degree courses in Home Science, food technology and food science and in specialized areas like fisheries, or dairy sciences are offered by some Indian Universities. There are also short-term certificate, craft and diploma courses offered by various polytechnics, food craft institutes and universities. The Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies has several Food and Nutrition Extension Centers in different parts of the country providing short-term courses and training in home-based preservation of fruits and vegetables, preparation of bakery and confectionery items, rice milling, oil seed processing etc. M.Sc and Ph.D courses in food and nutrition, home science, food technology and biotechnology are also available in some universities.

Eligibility


For B.Sc. in Home Science/ Food Technology/ Food Science, one should have passed 10+2 examinations with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as the main subjects. For M.Sc/Management, the minimum eligibility is a B.Sc.

Colleges, Institutions and Universities


Some of the prominent institutes offering courses in this field are:

Specialization


Food Technologists can specialize in any of the many fields of food processing such as sugar alcohol, bakery, oil, fruits and vegetables etc. one can do Ph.D in food technology or biotechnology or food preservation.

Career Prospects



Remunerations


Earnings vary by industry, skill, geographic region, and educational level. At the entry level the food technologists can earn around Rs.5000 to Rs.8000 per month. Those who have an experience of around five years can draw a salary in the range of Rs.10000 to Rs.15000 per month. And those who have worked for 15 years can earn up to Rs.30000 per month.

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