The growing consumerism and a fast paced lifestyle have led to a greater demand for packed and processed food. The challenge most food processing units face today is to produce food items which contain minimal amount of chemicals and preservatives yet have optimum appeal and shelf-life. And this has raised the demand for food technologists in the food processing sector.
Food technology has become a lucrative career option for the talented youngsters, thanks to a growing demand for packaged and processed food.
What does a food technologist do?
The primary job of a food technologist is to check the raw materials, maintain clean and hygienic conditions and quality of the food. They examine the food, conduct checks for contamination and adulteration and certify the nutritional value of food. The food technologist should devise improved techniques for processing, conservation and preservation of food items. They must also analyze current consumer trends and latest technologies to develop new product ideas.
What is food technology?
Food technology is the study of production, storage, preservation, canning, packaging and distribution of food products. It covers all areas of food processing and includes all types of foods like meat, fruits, vegetables, cereals, fish, egg, milk, spices etc.
Aspiring food technologists should have a scientific bend of mind, power of observation, intelligence and an interest in health and nutrition. They must be able to work well as part of a team and must have effective communication skills. A genuine interest in the scientific and technological development of food and high standards of cleanliness are other required traits.
Candidates who have studied physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology at the 10+2 level can seek admission to short term certificate and diploma courses in food technology. Students who have done B.Sc in physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry or a B.tech in food technology can seek admission to an M.Sc course in food technology. Those who have done graduation in home science, nutrition, dietetics and hotel management are also eligible for higher studies in food technology.
Food technologists with professional qualification have ample job opportunities. You can find jobs with food processing companies, food research laboratories, hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, government bodies and catering establishments. Public sector undertakings employ food technologists as food inspectors or health inspectors. With experience, one can work as a freelance consultant or health doctor in school/colleges. The sector also offers great entrepreneurial opportunities in the form of dynamic delivery networks and home catering services.