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The current food industry has undergone a major technological transformation to improve preservation, flavour and decrease toxins.

Vasim Shaikh |

Food processing is a modern practice that develops distributional efficiency and improves the marketing of the food products. It is regarded as a branch, where a set of methods and practices are used to renovate raw elements into food for safe consumption of humans or animals.

Though food processing existed even during prehistoric period, the technology used to improve preservation of food, flavour, and to decrease the toxins is comparatively new and has transformed the whole food industry.

Industry overview: At present in India, Food Processing Industry has been gaining impulse as the consumer’s food industry. There are about 300 million upper and middle class customers of processed and packaged food in the country and another 200 million were expected to be added.

To further increase the growth and expansion of these industries, a total of 500 food parks are planned to set up across the country, which is going to create enormous employment opportunities for those who have ability towards this work. The food is processed, conserved, packaged and stored according to the stipulations by industry and government. This business is coming of age and is ranked fifth among industries of India.

The Food Corporation of India, which deals with the major logistical part purchase, storing, transport and delivery of food grains and other food items also provide employment to large number of people. Private enterprises market bread, fruit juices, edible oils and soft drink concentrates.

Job Prospects: Food processing industries lead to the maximum employment opportunities for the candidates, because it connects a link between agriculture and manufacturing. It is estimated that in few years the total food production in India is perhaps double and there is a chance for the graduates of food processing specialists.

Some of the most common areas of employment are dairy and food processing, packaging, canning, frozen food / refrigeration and thermo-processing. Some of the sub-sectors of the industry are fisheries, meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables processing, milk and milk products, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks and grain processing.

A candidate can also get the opportunity to work in consumer product groups like confectionery, chocolates and cocoa products, soya-based products, mineral water, high protein foods, soft beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic fruit beverages, etc.

Skills: It is also important to look at the nature of work in this segment, which excludes preparations like cleaning of the raw material, chopping, blanching, crushing, mixing, cooking of the food item, adding preservers, final packaging, etc. An applicant should be assiduous, meticulous, have organisational abilities, be particular about cleanliness and hygiene, hard working and prudent.

Success Tips: This growing segment offers exceptional employment opportunities to those who have technical qualification in food processing. However, there are precise requirements, which are necessary to get hired from top notch food processing firms. Some tips can be:

One can start to study food processing that can be helpful in getting a job at early age and must start preparing for various entrance exams conducted soon after +2.

Having some soft skills such as being careful, meticulous, organisational, cleanliness and hygiene focused, sensible and hardworking can give edge over rest of candidates.

There is no match for practical judgment in this field; therefore, candidates possessing outstanding domain knowledge always have higher employability.

Working Conditions: Most of the production-related jobs in food processing unit include physically demanding work. To deal with hard working conditions and comply with safety regulations, companies have started ergonomics programmes to cut down on work-related accidents and injuries.

Eligibility: Food processing can be learned through numerous courses that are accompanied by different colleges in India. You can choose diploma, certificate, degree and doctoral courses to become skilled in food processing.

The courses available in this field are of different duration dependent on the colleges/universities. Some of the programmes, which a candidate can choose are diploma in food processing, food preservation, food processing and technology, BSc in home science/ food technology/food science, BTech in food processing and technology, and hotel management / international hotel management.

Pay Package: Salary of candidates in this industry depends on the educational qualification, skills, work experience and contribution in the production process. Location of the unit also plays an important role in the remuneration presented to candidates; although, professionals working in food processing units in metro cities earn attractive salaries.

An entry level expert can earn salary Rs 15,000 to 20,000. Likewise, those with few years of work experience can earn Rs 40,000 to 50,000. Senior management persons with years of knowledge behind them can pocket high salaries.

The writer is chief marketing officer, Co-Director of CEDP Skill Institute, Mumbai