What is food processing?
Food is one of the basic requirements of life. It provides nutrients for healthy living and the growth of all organisms. Raw food materials such as crop produce, marine products, poultry and meat undergo processing to get transformed into edible products. This process of value addition is known as food processing which is basically of two types primary processing and secondary processing. Primary food processing involves the transformation of raw agricultural products, milk, meat, poultry and fish into consumable forms. The steps involved include cleaning, grading, sorting, packaging etc. The secondary and tertiary processing are higher levels of processing that undertake to manufacture modified or new food products.
Why is food processing important?
As already mentioned, food processing makes the food consumable by improving its taste, texture, flavour, aroma, nutritional value and shelf life. It ensures the nutrition and safety of the food supply. The main reasons why foods are processed are:
- Preservation for longer periods either for sale or later consumption
- Elimination of inedible portions
- Removal of toxic substances
- Alteration of foods into forms desired by consumers
- Sub-sectioning into food ingredients
Also, the food processing sector is a major source of employment in rural areas and helps in lessening economic inequalities between rural and urban population.
What is the current status of food processing in India?
India stands second in the world in food production. To meet the ever-increasing demand for food in a developing country like India, the food processing sector is continuously evolving. Around 42% of the output is generated from the unorganized sector, 25% from the organized sector and remaining from the small-scale players. It has been estimated that the total food production in India will be doubled in the next ten years and attracts large investments in the food sector. There are various sub-sectors of the food processing industries like fruits and vegetables processing, grains, meat and poultry, dairy products, convenience foods, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages and fisheries and some consumer product groups such as chocolates, protein-rich foods, soy-based products, fruit beverages and mineral water that are swiftly progressing gaining much popularity.
The factors responsible for the growing demand for food processing in India are too many. The most important is a shift in consumption patterns, increase in income levels and changing lifestyles among middle class and priority given to the food and agri-business sector by the central government.
What is the future of food processing operations?
India is the largest producer in the agriculture sector as well as has an interesting food culture. There is immense progress in recent times in modern food processing and packaging technologies. On the other hand, the Indian market is considered to be cost-sensitive. Nonetheless, the worldwide production of food products and their processing is ever increasing. So is the demand for related plants and machinery. In addition, globalization has opened up new avenues to expand the scope of food processing technology across the globe. Fruitful cooperation and collaborations between various countries and companies resulted in huge prospects for exports and imports.
Online Course on Agribusiness at James Lind Institute
To learn more about food processing technology, enroll yourself in an online training program on agribusiness being launched at James Lind Institute. This module acquaints you with various aspects of agriculture and food processing operations. James Lind Institute is a pioneer in the field of online training courses in various fields such as clinical development, public health and tropical medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, medical communication and journalism and social and environmental sciences. The globally accredited and industry-specific training fine tunes your skills to match the needs of the ever-growing market. James Lind Institute will soon be launching online training programs on agribusiness. For more details, please visitwww.jliedu.com