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The Food and The science

Three years ago I had the honour to be finally called an alumni of my school and enter the much exciting phase of college life.
Before I go ahead I would like to warn all you school going kids, all those who say college life is only fun, believe me the only college they have ever seen are in the Bollywood masala flicks.

So here I was at the turning point of my life , with my friends, deciding our lives a few years down the road . Our career choices would finally have to be done.
Some preferred college over stream and others the stream over college.
Almost all of my friend went in for computer engineering in top notch colleges.
I however deliberately chose to pursue Food Technology. I joined this brand new college , from where I will graduate next year as  B.tech Food Technology and management.

Below is my college ( NIFTEM ) :

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Food tech? Like seriously?? All my friends were already looking down on me.
Even my new classmates had joined this college because this was their last shot at a govt college.
No not the same for me. With my rankings and scores I could have easily entered a decent engineering college and come out as yet another computer /electrical / mechanical/chemical engineer et al.
Food as a subject is always considered sub standard and secondary because people with low ranks also get easily admitted to it.
But food is also what every living thing needs. Rich humans. Poor humans. Street animals. Pet animals. Mango trees. Apple trees. Zooplanktons. Elephants. Microbes. The entire system of nature revolves around it.

And still?!.  A really ironical situation.
Well that’s mostly because a aam aadmi perceives it as what is there to study in it?? Technology and food…no there cant be a relation.
We very well know that the best food is the one made by mummy and Sanjeev Kapoor. No arguments here people.  After all , “Taste mei best , mummy aur everest  ; ) “

Just a clarification though. Adding spices and oil  in the right amount to give better taste is NOT food technology.

Preparing these spice powders by grinding and powdering them at the right temperature and humidity conditions and then packaging them in the most appropriate laminate is Food Technology.
The extraction of oil from seeds is food technology.
Putting jam on bread is easy , tasty and not science. Making jam of the perfect consistency such that it doesn’t flow and still spread easily is food technology. And obviously making a bread of the right volume and pore size takes a lot more than neighbourhood bakery classes ( for me and my classmates it took an entire semester 😛 )
Be it an engineer, teacher , artist, musician, programmer who doesn’t enjoy drinking chilled Coca Cola or Pepsi on a sunny day ? * except for the extremely calorie conscious people  😉
Not only the soft drinks , all the other drinks you enjoy ( and a lot more 😉 ), they are all prepared by food technologists.

The juices, the cheeses, the chocolates, the noodles – all need to be formulated with the perfect sugar acid ratio, water activity, microbial load, TSS, nutrients and of course packaging.

Strangely many people find this very easy. People not from this industry. To them I will say

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“Zara kuch din guzar k to dekhiye Gujarat Mei” . ( read it in his voice please ! 😛 )
Come , work in our shoes and then you will know better to leave these seemingly easy things back to us 🙂

We may not admit it , but world round all humans have this feeling

“Apna Sapna money money money” 😉
Talking in those terms too here are some facts about the Indian food industry:

The Indian food processing industry accounts for 32 per cent of the country’s total food market, 14 per cent of manufacturing GDP, 13 per cent of India’s exports and six per cent of total industrial investment. Indian food service industry is expected to reach US$ 78 billion by 2018.The Indian gourmet food market is currently valued at US$ 1.3 billion and is growing at a CAGR of 20 per cent. It is expected to cross US$ 2.8 billion by 2015.
( source and further reading : http://www.ibef.org/industry/indian-food-industry.aspx )

So you see, money is not an issue here dear!

Food science may not be easy but is definitely interesting. The study of food from farm to fork is gripping and engaging.

All the post harvest losses and food wastage can be prevented by processing food at a larger scale. For India this is the need of the hour. After all here 200 million live people in hunger, and over 40% of the children who do live till 5 are malnourished.

( source : http://www.friendsofsbt.org )

The very idea of being able to contribute somehow is itself satisfying.

To end it all I would say that I am thankful to have decided to be a food engineer and as of now “Para Pa Pa Pa …i m loving it”  😀

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I couldn’t find a really good quote related to food , so let’s make work with this cliched one . 😀
P.S  this post is in no way meant to be derogatory to all engineers and professionals out there. Not only are my bestest friends in your field, even this blog wouldn’t have been possible without you guys  :).
This is just to remind people that food as a subject is not as bad as made out to be.