What is Food Technology?
Food technology is a branch of food science which studies the sorting, preservation, processing, packaging, storage, distribution and the use of nutritional and safe food materials. Food technology students study food and its processes in terms of physics, microbiology and chemistry.
History of Food Technology
Before the birth of food technology, French inventor Nicolas Appert had thought of a way to process food in cans. The method used by Appert was not yet based on modern technology.
Louis Pasteur then came with his discovery of a way to prevent damage in fermented grapes by microbes. Pasteur’s discovery then became the foundation of food technology as a discipline.
Pasteur’s process has since been known as the pasteurization process. This process enables producers of food products to kill microbes in milk through a heating process which does not change the nutritional values of milk.
More researchers then experimented with other methods of food processing which further strengthened the foundation of food technology. One of these methods is the compacting of certain food materials into instant packaged drinks which helped start the formula milk industry.
Career Paths of Food Technology Experts
Generally, there are two career paths for food technologists: working in food quality control or product development.
Most newly-graduated food technology students would start working in quality control. What they usually do in quality control is ensuring that food processing is done according to standards.
In ice cream factories, for instance, a quality control officer must ensure that the ice cream produced has gone through a process that is hygienic and using materials that are not harmful for consumption. This quality control process is done even until the final stages of the production: packaging and distribution.
Food technology graduates are highly sought after for quality control. For one type of product, a factory would need around 15 quality control officers. This is the reason why most food technology graduates would begin their career as quality control officers.
It is not easy to get an opportunity to work in product development: apart from requiring product developers to have the necessary skills and knowledge, companies would also be very selective in their recruitment as there are a lot of company secrets involved in product development.
Due to their strategic positions, product developers would often work under the top leaders of their companies. This would result in them getting promoted faster than those who work in quality control. The highest positions which people who work in product development can attain are Chief Technical Officer or Technical Director.
Who Should Study Food Technology?
In conclusion, studying food technology does not ensure quick career progression. In other words, those who strive to be company leaders may not choose to study food technology. Food technology is a good discipline for those who have immense passion in food, health, science and biology and who seek a peaceful work life which does not entail tight deadlines. However, this does not mean that the work of a food technologist is an easy one that can be taken for granted.
For those who are interested in building a career in the food industry can take food technology in order to help them acquire all the necessary skills and knowledge. Despite that, they need to also develop themselves as food technologists who are able to think from an entrepreneurial standpoint. To know more about food technology, you can read the following article: