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The Indian food and beverage industry (not including alcoholic beverages) was valued at approximately $200 billion

in the year 2007, according to a FICCITechnopak study, and is expected to grow to $300 billion by 2015. Of course, not all of this produce goes in for processing, and the food processing industry is therefore estimated at a smaller $70 billion. Beverages, primarily packaged tea and coffee, milk-based packaged drinks, carbonated drinks and fruit-based drinks account for a small proportion of the industry, a little more than $6 billion. The food and beverage industry is considered a priority sector by the government, since it has potential for generating employment in both urban and rural areas. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the industry already employs over 1.6 million workers directly, besides its impact on other sectors such as agriculture, logistics and retailing. The food and beverage industry covers many sectors, and the Ministry of Food Processing has broadly divided into the following areas: Dairy processing, Fruits & Vegetable processing, Grain processing, Fish, meat & poultry processing and lastly, Packaged goods such as beverages, snacks, bakery products, convenience/ready-to-cook foods. Currently, many units in the food processing industry work in the unorganised sector, but the share of organised industry is expected to grow, gradually. The packaged food, industry is expected to be a significant contributor to this growth. The per capita consumption of packaged foods in India is expected to rise with the increase in disposable incomes. Beverages, in particular, is a fast-growing segment, with an annual growth rate of over 25 percent currently. Even in areas such as dairy processing, meat & poultry processing or fruit & vegetable processing, the opening up of export markets as well as rising awareness on hygiene domestically is moving industries to adopt higher standards, including a professional and trained workforce. The Food Safety Act, 2006, while not completely implemented, is also expected to raise industry standards. Industry Evolution and Trends Until the early 90s, the Indian food industry consisted largely of small scale units working with low-end technology and involved in low-volume production, largely for the domestic market. The packaged food industry, which included a few organised players and made products like ketchup, jams, biscuits and instant noodles, had few brands and a low level of competition. With liberalization and the

rise in urban middle-class incomes, there was an explosion of brands, as existing players expanded and new players entered the market. Staple foods such as wheat, rice, pulses and cooking oil, which had till now, largely been sold on the loose, started being packaged for the first time, with some of them also getting branded. This was also the case with fish, meat and poultry products where consumers were now ready to pay for the convenience of produce that has been cleaned and was ready to use. While branded products have made an entry into almost all categories, the Indian food industry is yet to undergo many changes. The food procurement chain from farm to factory is still inefficient, due to poor transportation facilities and lack of cold storage. Some companies have tried to address these issues by putting in place systems for contract farming and procurement from farmers in specific geographical areas so that investments in cold storage, warehousing and transportation facilities can be made. They also provide technical know-how to farmers for improving yields and produce quality. Unlike developed countries, highly processed, ready-to-eat/ready-to-cook foods still form a small market in India. With the rise of women in the workforce, this market is expected to grow. India is a large exporter of food products such as grain, tea, fresh and dried vegetables; it is not yet however a major exporter of value-added products in the packaged food sector, although manufacturers have made a beginning by targeting large expatriate Indian communities in areas such as the Middle East and South East Asia. With more stringent safety norms and a greater share of the organised sector, this is expected to change. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has estimated that agricultural products and processed food exports from India to this region already account for about $ 3 billion, a figure that is expected to grow. Currently, some of the major players in the Indian food industry are Hindustan Unilever Limited (beverages, staples, snack foods, condiments), ITC Ltd (staples, confectionery, snack foods), Parle Products Ltd (snack foods), Britannia India Ltd (snack foods), Nestle India Pvt. Ltd (Dairy, snack foods, chocolate), Haldirams (Snack foods) and GCMMF-Amul (Dairy, beverages). While the domestic market is currently the focus for most manufacturers, this may change in the future. Haldirams, for instance has begun an ambitious expansion plan, including a manufacturing plant in the UK. Career Options in the Food & Beverage Industry

Since the food & beverage industry includes both basic and value-added food processing, there are a wide range of jobs available. In the primary food processing industry, the roles may involve close interaction with the farm end of the food chain. At the value-added food processing industry, whereas, the focus would be greater on production and process technology as well as Research & Development (R&D). Broadly, the key roles in this industry could be classified as agriculturerelated, production & process related, Testing, Safety & Quality Control, Health & nutrition related, R&D and Sales and Marketing. These are besides the general functions such as Finance, Administration and Supply Chain. For those working at the farm end of the spectrum, graduate or post-graduate degrees in agriculture would be a requirement, although depending on the nature of the role, those from related fields such as botany or chemistry would also be considered. Post-graduates in Food Technology (and related areas) would be considered for roles in testing, safety and quality control areas, as also for R&D. Graduates in chemistry may also be considered for lab-related positions, if they have a keen interest in working in the food industry. Senior-level positions in R&D would normally call for a doctorate in areas relevant to the industry. Industries such as Dairy may also look for degrees in dairy technology. Manufacturers in the food industry, increasingly, have teams that focus on the health and nutrition aspect of their products, which calls for candidates with a postgraduate degree in nutrition, dietetics or even a degree in medicine. For roles in production or process R&D, engineers, usually with a mechanical engineering degree would be considered. Besides these, there are also short-term courses in areas such as food packaging, quality & safety issues, IPR issues, microbiological analysis etc which may help those with a graduate degree to upgrade their skills and enter the food industry.