Chocolates, ice cream, pizza, noodles, samosas, dosas, juices and colas all are products of the Indian food industry. It’s not just restaurant chefs, but also the food technologists who run this industry.
Food is a science. In fact a highly developed one, that is based on the fundamentals of biochemistry, physical sciences, chemistry and engineering. Technologists help to make the food wonderful, tasty and healthy when you buy it in the stores.
Food technology deals with the manufacturing, processing, treatment, preservation, and distribution of food. Food science/ food technology graduates often land up getting exciting kind of jobs. They either work towards generating a new product or maintaining the quality of an existing product.
Not only processed foods but also the fruits, vegetables, spices and staples that you buy benefit from improvements in technology which helps them reach you fresh and healthy.
So if you are a science student this article might be helpful for you. Whether you’re finishing 10+2 , or a graduation with bio-science, biotechnology, chemistry or nutrition, the good news is there’s a huge demand for food science professionals in India. .
The terms ‘food science’ and ‘food technology’ are used interchangeably but there is a minute difference between them. Food technology enables an understanding of the biochemical processes/ mechanisms involving food. Food science includes application of that knowledge and handling other side-processes that impacts the quality of the food.
A variety of job profiles are offered to food tech/science students. Quiet often, they find employment in food manufacturing industries such as – Nestle, ITC Limited, Mondelez International (earlier knows as Cadbury), Dabur, Amul, Parle, Jubiliant FoodWorks(Dominos), MTR foods , Haldiram etc. Job opportunities are also available in retail, agro-products and the public sector. Certain openings are also present in the defence sector.
Food technology could also be pursued as a doctoral subject. Research scholars can qualify entrance examinations and are entitled for stipend provided by scientific/academic bodies such as- ICMR, UGC or CSIR. After gaining an experience of 3-4 years, individuals are provided with excellent remuneration in this field.
Roles and responsibilities-
Many food tech/science graduates get jobs as food quality officers in the multi-national food companies. Their primary role is to assess and maintain the quality of food before it is out for distribution. They follow standard procedures specifically set for each product. These protocols are to ensure the safety and nutritional quality of the food and are based on food safety regulations. At higher level, they manage multiple products.
Students who opt research as their career choice, specialize in a field and work on new product development, food preservation methods and specific innovations such as methods via which the shelf-life or/ and the nutritional quality of the food can be increased or an optimum packing material for a specific food product.
They can also to become food sensory evaluators. They can choose a specialization such as- coffee tasting, chocolate tasting, sensory evaluation of cheese/noodles/wine etc. For this, after their graduation, they can opt for a certificate program and then get a role in food MNC. Their job is to evaluate that the food characteristics up to the set- standards and then give feedback.
Food technology/food science courses and eligibility –
There are a variety of specialization offered in this stream. Depending on one’s interest, a specific branch could be chosen.
Diploma polytechnic courses after 10+2
After 10+2, students can opt to do polytechnic courses and earn a specialization by doing a diploma in quality assurance, food science technology or food science and preservation technology. For some courses, one needs to pass an entrance examination. After obtaining a diploma, one can start working at a junior position.
After 10+2, students from science stream can choose to do a B.tech/B.Sc in food technology/food science.The duration of the B.Sc course is 3 years and that of B.Tech is 4 years. One obtains an engineering degree after doing a B. Tech in food technology. A variety of under-graduation courses are available in this stream-
- B. Tech in Food Technology
- B.Sc. in Food Science
- B. Sc. in Food Technology
- B.Sc. in Food and Nutrition
- B.Sc. in Food Preservation
All these courses equip the students with the skills that are required to obtain a job in the food industry. Internships in food industry are an important part of the curriculum of these courses. They provide an industry exposure to students are very important to get a job in the food industry. For food technology courses, one needs to clear an entrance examination to get into one of the premiere institutes. Usually, 10+ 12 scores are considered for getting enrolled in food science graduation courses.
To gain a specialization, students can opt to do a post-graduation course in food science/ food technology. Credit based internships and dissertation projects that are an important feature of these courses. They help the student to identify their area of specialization and help them to gain an experience in that specific area. Some government institutes offer a stipend/scholarship to students who are enrolled in a post-graduation food science/food-tech course.
- M. Tech in Food Technology
- M.Sc. in Food Science
- M.Sc. in Food and Nutrition
To get an admission in a prestigious institute, the students must pass the entrance examination organized by the institute.
Areas of Research
New product development-
These days, a lot of emphasis is put on food and nutrition insecurity. There is a need to develop fortified and genetically modified food products. Research is not just limited to development of these products, one needs to find out whether these products are fit for human consumption or not. Ready-to-eat foods are convenient to carry, a lot of emphasis is put on development of such food products with high nutritional content.
To maintain the desired food properties and to ensure food safety, new techniques needs to be developed and tested by the researchers.
Extension and education-
Experts have identified that translation of the research findings to the consumers and end-users is very essential. With an increase in demand for such research, more of such research opportunities shall open in future.
Selection of a research topic
A variety of research specializations are offered to scholars in this stream. Depending on your interest, you can pick a research topic. Every research organization assigns a mentor to a student. Selection of a research topic is also dependent on the feasibility and facilities available to the scholar. Usually a guidance on these issues is provided by the mentors at the research institute.
Sub specializations offered in this stream
Food chemistry, food preservation, food microbiology, quality control and sensory analysis.
Some institutes offering food technology/ food science courses –
- Defence Food Research Laboratory, Defence Research and Development Organization, Mysore
- National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management, Sonipat
- Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore
- Institute of Food Technology and Management, Pune
- Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
- Department of Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University
- School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Queensland Australia
- Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre
- National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (only for dairy technology and science)
Doctoral and post-doctoral courses-
Students who wish to pursue research in food technology in India can attempt fellowship examinations such as- CSIR, UGC and ICMR. Scholars who pass this examination are given stipend for their project for 5 years.
Most of the foreign universities require GRE and TOEFL scores for post- graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral courses. Also, some universities accept the students based on the project developed by them. The doctoral and post-doctoral students in India are often accepted as a visiting scholar in foreign universities for a project. They are often provided the basic cost of living, air fare and visa fees.
List of scholarships / awards offered to food technology/ food science students-
- Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) fellowships to students who are in their first year of M.Sc/M.Tech program.
- Inspire fellowship for Post graduates in Science/ Applied Science who are university rank holders.
- Institutional scholarships to students who topped the entrance examination, topped in 1styear of the post-graduation, topper of the batch.
- Khorana program scholarship for students who wish to pursue a research project in USA. The students must be enrolled in a B.Tech, M.Tech and B.Sc./M.Sc program.
Depending on one’s qualifications, the food-tech sector offers a variety of job roles to the food science/ food tech students. Diploma holders can start with 15,000 per month while graduates may get a remuneration of 3- 3.8 Lakh per annum. An average post-graduate can start with the same remuneration but can progress quickly and with 2 years can obtain a remuneration of 6-12 Lakhs per annum. Some post-graduates are offered a placement package of 6-8 Lakhs at the beginning of their career. A doctoral student starts with a stipend of 3.8 Lakhs per annum and progress to 4.3 Lakhs per annum as per their performance. They are often provided with the contingent grant to procure research material and attend conferences to present their work. After finishing their doctoral, they are provided with a package of 8-14 lakh per annum.