The food processing industry has been the talk of the town recently, offering plentiful job opportunities. This article provides an overview of the career options, education and courses in food processing in India.

Careers in Food Processing

Have those yummy and sweet-smelling buns, popping out freshly baked from the oven, sent you into the world of delicious and delectable confectioneries? Or is the refreshingly appetizing plate of tomato pasta tempting you to order another plate? Have you just discovered that food has engulfed you and become your life, not willing to make an exit? Well, if you are just a school student, you have a flourishing career ahead of you. In what? The food industry, of course! Food processing has been growing for quite some years now, ever since cuisines and delicacies have started traveling places, with more and more people getting familiar with what the world has to offer on your palate. Food processing is a term that travels you back to the prehistoric times. A set of methods and techniques that are utilized to transform the raw stuff into prepared food, for the consumption purposes by humans and animals is known as food processing. Food processing is a broad term, in itself, which includes manufacturing, preservation and packaging, processing and canning of different food products.

The process involves preparing and converting raw materials into finished goods through actual processing, to be further sold to the final consumers over-the-counter at restaurants, grocers, institutional food services, and wholesalers. The actual processing comprises of various methods, such as blanching, crushing, chopping, mixing, or even cooking. It is through food processing that one can find a large variety of food products readily available in cabinets, pantries, and refrigerators of every household. Whether they are bakery products, or it is meat, poultry, or fish, but some kind of food processing equipment is involved in the process in order to produce high-quality and hygienic products. The upward trend in the consumer food industry has introduced umpteen job prospects for young aspirants who desire to complete themselves with food and only food.

Course Details
Food processing can be learnt through a multitude of courses conducted by various institutions in India. One can look for degree, diploma, certificate and short-term programs to become an expert in food processing. At the degree level, 3-year B.Sc courses in home science/food technology/food science can be pursued after completing 10+2 examination with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as main subjects. Further, 4-year B.Tech courses in food technology are also conducted, with the same eligibility criteria. One can seek admission in M.Sc and M.Tech programs in food and nutrition, home science, food technology, and biotechnology, at the post graduate level, running for two years of duration. Later, food technologists can choose their respective fields of specialization, namely, sugar, alcohol, bakery, oil, fruits and vegetables, and so on, through PhD program in food technology, biotechnology, or food preservation. As many as 15 institutes in India offer research programs for aspirants. Several short-term diploma, certificate, and craft courses conducted by numerous polytechnics, food craft institutes, and universities can also be pursued.

Career Prospects
With numerous sectors in the food processing industry, there are ample opportunities for freshers and experienced personnel available. A wide number of jobs can be explored in major sectors of food processing, such as fruits and vegetables, milk products, grains, fisheries, plantation products, confectionery, beverages, packaged/convenience foods, and health foods and supplements. India, alone, has over 30 companies catering to this sector. Dabur India, ITC Limited, Agro Tech Foods, Parle Products Pvt. Ltd., Cadbury India Ltd., Nestle India Pvt. Ltd., PepsiCo India Holdings, Britannia Industries Ltd., Hindustan Unilever limited, and Godrej Industries Limited are the major players. Food processing is still in its blossoming stage in India, which promises a plethora of recruitment options. Some highly paid and productive sectors for budding professionals include food processing companies, food wholesalers, food research laboratories, catering establishments, hospitals, restaurants, and retailers.

Individuals who have done their majors in food processing can work as bacteriologists, toxicologists, packaging technologists, food batch makers, food cooking machine operators and tenders, baking and drying machine operators and tenders, bakers, trimmers, fish cutters, and slaughterers and meat packers. Besides, the food processing industry also recruits professionals from other sectors of the food industry, such as food technologists, analytical chemists, home economists, research scientists, biochemists, engineers (chemical, mechanical, industrial, electrical, agricultural, civil), and managers and accountants. As such, this attractive and lucrative industry ensures that experts from different fields find fruitful jobs for themselves. Those willing to set up their own firms can expect a wide scope of returns and profits in the domestic as well as international markets. Products of India, like pickles, basmati rice, etc. and cold storage chains for dairy products and other perishables offer ample possibilities for business opportunities.

Top Colleges Offering UG/PG/Other Courses
Quite a number of universities and institutes can be approached for acquiring knowledge in food processing. The major institutes conducting courses and programs in food processing and related fields are: Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore; Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai; Fruit Technology Institute, Lucknow; Karunya University, Coimbatore; Krish Vishwavidyalaya, Himachal Pradesh; National Dairy Research Institute at Karnal and Bangalore; MS University, Vadodara; SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai; National Sugar Institute (NSI) at Kanpur, Chennai and Kolkata; Small Industries Services Institute, New Delhi; and Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) at Barrackpore, Kakinada, Lucknow and Mumbai.

No certain expectations can be determined in food processing. Remuneration varies largely on the type of industry, skills acquired, geographic location, and educational qualifications possessed. However, as a beginner, one can receive a monthly salary of Rs. 5000 to Rs. 8000. With about five years of experience, one can fetch an average monthly pay of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000. Highly qualified professionals with over 15 years of experience can earn up to Rs. 30,000 per month. Extremely high salaries are offered to senior management positions with several years of experience.

Related Courses
• B Sc (Hons) Food Technology• B Sc (Hons) Home Science
B Tech• M Sc (Biotechnology)
• M Sc (Food and Nutrition)
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