Indeed, the very essence of human life is to live in such a way to meet the basic demands of food, clothing and shelter. The very basic need of an individual is that of food. Without food, the question of survival does not arise. This is what prompted our forefathers to take to cultivation. However, a major chunk of the fruits and vegetables that are produced are perishable in nature. Hence, in order to maximise their usage, the best way out would be to preserve them.
Now, modern science and technology have reached a point wherein nothing is excluded from their shackles. Indeed, by putting technology to appropriate use, education, healthcare and general lifestyle have improved. The application of technology in order to avoid food from perishing and, thereby, ensuring that there is least amount of wastage is one of the core ethics of food science and technology.
With human beings becoming more and more aware of the resources given to them by Mother Nature, the demand for food science is increasing by leaps and bounds. This article talks about the current scenario in food science and technology and the emerging scope of the different careers in this field.
· Regulatory Affairs Officer
It is after the Green Revolution that the country has started taking things pertaining to the side effects of agrochemicals and pesticides seriously. In the recent years, there has been an increase in licensing, marketing and legal compliance regulations in order to ensure the least amount of damage to the crops and subsequently ensure better quality of the food that we eat.
In order to ensure that everyone involved in the process of food generation and food delivery adheres to the guidelines laid out by the authorities, there is a need for people to regulate the same. These people are known as regulatory affairs officer and people with a background of food science is preferred for the same.
These are government jobs and bring along a lot of social security. The starting salary is about Rs 15,000 here and there are a number of other perks and incentives to go along.
· Product Developer
This is another area of food technology that has come to light only in the recent years. Government initiatives like 'Make in India' owe credit for the success of the same. The product development personnel can use their knowledge of food technology to come up with better processes that optimise the process of food manufacturing.
These days we see a number of packaged food items. Food that, in the past, was considered to be unpackageable is today available in bounty. All of this is possible only due to the combined efforts of hundreds of food product development engineers.
This is one of the most highly paid jobs in the world of food technology and the starting salary here is close to Rs 22,000. Jobs in this sector may be both government-based and private, however, it is recommended that a person working in this area has a postgraduate degree or diploma in the same.
The main job role of a toxicologist is to identify the presence of toxic items in food and to study the impact of the same in human life. This is a new profession and in the recent days we see a great surge in the number of organisations hiring toxicologists in order to ensure that the food products manufactured by them are in compliance with the laws of the land.
These people perform experiments on the food samples and make notes or prepare reports on the presence (or absence) of toxic contents in the same. Their job is to optimise the results and arrive at a conclusion wherein the potential benefits of a food product are valued against the risks to find the feasibility of the same.
This is a research-oriented job and people with a postgraduate diploma in food technology are given more weightage over graduate degree holders. Freshers here start off with a salary of Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000.
· Purchasing Manager
In the past, this role in restaurants and hotels was carried out by chefs. In this era of multi specialisation, restaurants hiring people who have a thorough understanding of food sciences (and a basic understanding of finance) for this role.
The job role here includes making a proper list of all the things that are needed to be purchased and the quantity in which the same has to be done and then going ahead with the purchase. It is the duty of the production manager to ensure that substandard products that lack nutritional value or are toxic in nature are not purchased.
This is a very crucial role for the functioning of any restaurant, bakery or other eateries because the taste of the food in any place depends greatly on the quality of food products used. The average starting salary ranges from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,00 and with experience the responsibilities and take-home salary rises.
· Technical Brewer
These people deal with the entire process of producing and packaging beer. The quality check on raw materials, the operative procedures and the functioning of the technical equipment are the responsibilities of these people. These people also work on coming up with new recipes.
In the past, India did not really produce beer on a large scale and most of what came to the country was imported. However, the situation is up for a change now. With beer brewing in the country increasing by leaps and bounds, there is immense scope for the career growth of technical brewers.
All you need is a degree in food science and technology with brewing as one of your elective subjects. The average starting salary here is about Rs 12,000 and the same may vary depending on the organisation that you are working for.