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Food technology: Science of making food last longer

From cereals and yoghurt to instant noodles, pickles and ketchup, discover how packaged foods are created, and the people behind these products

by Rashmi Menon

WITH THE LARGEST land area and diverse agro-climatic zones, India has a production advantage with potential to become the food factory of the world. Photo courtesy/Shutterstock

ALONE at home and not in a mood to cook? Instant noodles to the rescue! A trip to the nearest supermarket in your area unravels the plethora of food products in different flavours and forms. Be it mixed grain atta, baked chips, energy drinks, flavoured curds, probiotic drinks, pastas, sausages or even healthy, nutrition bars, all these varieties in the day- to- day food are all courtesy food technology. Food technology is the science that transforms cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables, raw meat and milk to various packaged food products. 

Preventing wastage
“It is the foundation for protecting food from going waste and extending its shelf life by preserving it for a longer time,” explains Dr VH Potty from Central Food Technology and Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore. One of the earliest advances in food technology was made in 1810, by a scientist called Nicolas Appert, who developed canning as a method to store food for a longer time. Around 54 years later, Louis Pasteur’s discovery enabled people to prevent wine and milk from spoiling.

Sunrise in industry in India
Food processing is considered a sunrise industry here. With the largest irrigated land area and diverse agro-climatic zones across the country, India has a production advantage with  potential to become the food factory of the world. It also offers a vast market to the food processors and traders, says Dr Bhupender Singh Khatkar, a senior faculty in the Department of Food Technology, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar, Haryana, Dr Khatkar believes that the food processing sector is the next revolution to take place in India; retail processed food business will create nine million jobs. 

(To view full story, Food Technology, published on July, 2012, Careers360 magazine)

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