Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Mar 27, 2006
Industry & Economy - Foods & Food Processing
Marketing - Retailing
Food techies in demand now
TESTED BY EXPERTS?
Bangalore , March 26
Did you know that before you picked up that packet of tur dal from one of the retail stores, it was tested and certified by a food process expert at a food lab? The explosion of the food retailing industry has added yet another stream of jobs into the sector: food technologists and food process specialists.
Mr Kris Lakshmikanth, Managing Director of The Head Hunters India, said: "With most retailers looking at 50 per cent of their sales coming from food and related products like fruits, vegetables, pulses, cereals, ready-to-eat, and frozen foods, there is a big demand for people with skills in the food process industry."
The Head Hunters India has got mandates from several food retail biggies to help them recruit food process specialists.
Ms Mridul Salgame, Director of Regional Food Research Analysis Centre (R-FRAC), said that food labs like hers are now in demand.
She has been getting enquiries from retailers like Food Bazaar and Food World for help in quality improvement, food safety, hygiene analysis, and label reading.
"The frozen food segment is growing and companies have to be careful about hygiene and safety maintenance."
Added to this is the growing list of imported food items like biscuits, snacks, chocolates, etc.
Label reading is critical here, as these foods have to conform to Indian legislations, she added.
Though most retailers prefer to outsource this activity, they would like to have some in-house specialists.
With increased activity in the sector, Dr Salgame is recruiting food technologists and process specialists from food technology institutes and Universities.
Mr Vijay Bhaskar Reddy, Advisor, R-FRAC, said: "Earlier any science graduate would do, but now companies are seeking expert advice in the area."
These skills are also needed to analyse food items that are exported, which is on the rise now.
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