Taking up food engineering as a career was indeed a challenge for me. It was difficult to convince my parents to let me take up this new branch of engineering as they were doubtful about its scope.
Many a times when people hear about ‘Food Engineering’ they mingle this technical subject with the art of learning cookery and believe that food engineers are good cooks and with each passing semester they are able to learn the art of cookery very well while the truth remains that food engineering is equal to any other branch of engineering in its course study but of course subjects vary from course to course.
Encyclopedias describe Engineering as the discipline, art, and profession that applies scientific theory to design, develop, and analyze technological solutions. The contemporary era, is generally considered to consist the major basic branches of chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. There are numerous other engineering sub disciplines and interdisciplinary subjects that are derived from concentrations, combinations, or extensions of the major engineering branches.
Wikipedia describes Food engineering as a multi disciplinary discipline of applied physical sciences which combines science, microbiology and engineering education for food. Food engineering is a comprehensive food technology field involving the various disciplines of food science, agriculture, microbiology, chemistry, and engineering. Using careful research methods, high-tech equipment and sophisticated processes, food process engineering covers the entire gamut from procuring raw food materials to processing them into food products to preserving, packaging and delivering the food products to the consumer market.
Food engineering is a very wide field of activities. Prospective major employers for food engineers include companies involved in food processing, food machinery, packaging, ingredient manufacturing, instrumentation, and control. Firms that design and build food processing plants, consulting firms, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and health-care firms also hire food engineers. Among its domain of knowledge and action are:
(1) Research and development of new foods, biological and pharmaceutical products.
(2) Development and operation of manufacturing, packaging and distributing systems for drug/food products.
(3) Design and installation of food/biological/pharmaceutical production processes.
(4) Design and operation of environmentally responsible waste treatment systems.
(5) Marketing and technical support for manufacturing plants.
Scope of food technology
A food technologist, otherwise known as a food scientist, is someone who works in the food processing industry and works to help develop healthy, safe, and convenient food products. They continually work to develop better methods of food preservation, better processing and packaging procedures, better storage and even better delivery processes. They also research harmful food additives and develop substitutes in order to make sure foods are safe and healthy.
Education and training requirements
A Bachelor’s degree is required for most jobs as a food technologist. There are specific degrees for food technology or science, but many food technologies get a degree in food science (Bsc, M.sc), food technology (B.tech, M.tech) or a closely related field. Some food technologies wish to work for agencies to do specific research. Research and scientific fields usually require a Master’s degree. A food technologist who works at the administrative research development level or who wishes to teach college courses will in most circumstances need a Doctorate degree.
Courses required for training as a food technologist include food chemistry, microbiology, processing operations, and engineering. Most food technologists start off working as part of an apprenticeship or internship program to observe procedures that are done and gain hands-on experience with technology involved in food production establishments. After training and experience in different fields, some food technologists may branch off into a more specific food department such as dairy, meat, or plant products.
Most food technologists start off working in factories to observe routine procedures such as processing, packaging and delivering. After experience is gained in these basic fields, many processors will move on to work for bigger government agencies to perform bigger investigations on a governmental scale. Many technologists work in general factory positions in the beginning of their career, and then move on to larger corporations that give them a more specific job to perform.
Employee outlook for food technologists is continually on the rise as many companies are increasingly looking for healthier alternatives to their foods. More education is now available on preservatives and food additives, so companies want to keep up with the advancements. There are also advancements in the technology department involving food health and safety, so technologists are needed to determine what advancements can be used and how it can improve the industry.
Many food technologists love what they do and love the thought of improving the food industry, so the biggest benefit to their job is knowing that they are helping to make products safer and more efficient. Someone who is passionate about this aspect of their job will often move up quickly and obtain a larger salary with better benefits and job security.