All about Food Processing, Food Preservation, Food Packaging, bakery and Confectionary,

Food is one of the basic needs of life others being clothing and shelter. When the early man left his arboreal habits and started the farming systems i.e. domestication of animals which was ultimately directed towards gathering and storing foods. He started gathering and storing the foods and did this when the food was available in plenty for use of store foods in scarcity periods.

Food Preservation

Food is one of the basic needs of life others being clothing and shelter. When the early man left his arboreal habits and started the farming systems i.e. domestication of animals which was ultimately directed towards gathering and storing foods. He started gathering and storing the foods and did this when the food was available in plenty for use of store foods in scarcity periods. As he progressed towards social and civilized culture, the need for the storage of food became essential. The different foods have different qualities for storage and the type of environment where different civilizations developed, helped and made him to understand the utilization of different natural resources.

The use of sun energy to preserve different cereals, pulses fruits, vegetables, meat etc. in the dried form is known since time immemorial. In the cold areas, meat and fish forms the main component of diet, these are preserved utilizing the principle of low temperature preservation. Some of the foods are preserved by salting as vegetables and fish in the coastal areas. The food preservation also employs the use of natural fermentation, e.g. in the working of different types of wines, ciders, vinegar etc. whose description can be read in the Vedas too. Many pickling techniques for fruits, vegetables and fish were very popular since time immemorial.

Earlier the preservation of foods was an art utilizing sun light, salt, cold temperature, smoking etc. Most of the techniques use heating or cooling as the main objective to preserve food. Comparatively canning is a modern technique which was developed in the end of 18th century. During the Napoleonic near the French Govt. faced the difficulty of supplying food to its forces at the front, where food spoilt during transportation of long distances. During this time the French Government announced a reward of 12000 Francs to the inventor who could develop a satisfactory method of preservation so that food could be transported to the fighting forces without any spoilage.

Nicholas Appert, a Paris confectioner and distiller in 1810, invented the process of preserving foods in glass containers and won the prize. He also published a book on preservation, whose translation in English entitled "The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances for Many Years". To honor him canning process is still known as "Appertization". The canning of fruits was introduced on commercial scale by William Underwood in 1817 in the United States of America.

The sterilization method given by Appert was modified by adding common salt or calcium chloride which raised the temperature of boiling water so reduced the time of sterilization. In 1834 Louis Pasteur recommended heat treatment of food at high temperature (below boiling point of water) which kills majority of micro-organisms not all e.g. bacteria, mould and yeast already present in food and prevents their entry in the container by hermetic sealing, which was called pasteurization.

Food preservation: It is defined as "the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down spoilage process (loss of quality, edible quality or nutritive value) caused or accelerated by micro-organisms". Although there are different methods which use favourable Yeast, bacteria, or fungus to add either desired qualities or to preserve food (e.g wine, pickles, cheese, vinegar). However, maintenance or creation of nutritional value, texture and flavour is important in preserving its value as food.

Most of the foods remain in edible or acceptable form for short period of time so people since the ancient times have experimented with suitable methods for food preservation depending upon the climatic conditions. Among the products of early food conservation were cheese and butter, raisins, dried fish, pickles from fruits, vegetables and fish, smoked meat, sausage, bacon, wines and beers and grain. In Modern times there are many methods used to preserve food like heating or boiling for killing germs, preventing oxidation (by using sulphur dioxide), toxic inhibition, dehydration (drying), osmotic inhibition (using syrups) or freezing and many other related processes.

Food Preservation has become an integral part of the food processing industry in India. FMGC is the 4th largest sector in the Indian economy and with the potential of growth in this sector, there is immense need for food preservation products. Another major reason why food preservation is in demand is that there is a long gap between production and the actual consumption of food commodities. With increasing urban population, there is an increase in the purchasing power specially of middle class which is the major portion of Indian economy, there is change in food habits and people are not in practice of preparing these products of their own. Also, these preserved products are in great demand in foreign markets e.g. salted cashews, pappads, mangoes and mango products are good foreign exchange earners. There is too much scope of expansion of this industry which can boost especially horticultural crops that too in hilly and far flung areas and will give more value-added products to earn more foreign exchange. The importance of different crops and their value added products has given the concept of niche area based farming and enterprises dependent on it, e.g. Patanjali Yogpeeth and development of Food Parks which will give new horizons to this concept.

Advanced technology of processing has great potential to reach the farm produce markets beyond region and country, because it converts perishable produce into more stable forms which can be stored and send to distant places making its availability round the year.The food processing industry takes care of mass production, quality control of raw and prepared products and availability of best processing techniques for conversion into most acceptable forms. Recent advances in this sector include use of:

o Mechanical harvesting

o Bulk handling

o Automation

o Improved techniques with scientific up gradation

o Application of biotechnology to produce wide range of end products

This development will fulfill the need of mass consumption at low prices. It is one of the most important agro-based industries. The processing will utilize maximum seasonal gluts and surplus production, in this way provide stability of prices. This industry is labor intensive and so provides more employment opportunities at farms and in the factories. All these units are in unorganized sectors mostly being in the cottage/ small sectors. APEDA has taken hold for increasing the exports of fruits and vegetables, in fresh as well as preserved form. So, food preservation and processing industries are though indirectly but is committed for welfare of the population in special reference to health, nutrition and food safety.

Bakery and Confectionery

Bakery and confectionery plays an important role in the food industry and baked products are finding their way into one's diet thereby increasing the demand of the baked products day by day.

Bakery is not only a skill but an art also. Because of the changing life style and involvement of the home makers in professional sector there is scarcity of time for one and all. This has led to increased dependence of man on the readymade/convenience foods. Nowadays baked products are being consumed in almost every household in India and this has increased the demand of the baked products through out the country.

Baked products are enjoyed by one and all. Bakery products represent low cost nutritious convenience foods compared to many other Indian sweets, desserts and other traditional confectionery products. Besides fast moving these products also have good shelf life when compared to other sweetmeat products.
Confectionery is a sugar based industry and includes sugar boiled, chocolate confectionery and all traditional sweetmeats.

Bakery and Confectionery is a skill oriented enterprise and is gaining impetus in all the segments of the society. This skill can be advantageously utilized for income generation apart from adding to variety at the domestic and commercial level. Hence there is a wider scope of promoting this skill as an enterprise. Apart from this bakery and confectionery can also be practised as a hobby for catering to daily needs.

Cereals are consumed by all human beings in one form or another and are an integral part of human civilization since time immemorial and bakery presents cereals in more attractive, palatable and digestible form. Bakery industry in India is nearly 200 years old and at that time it was limited to a particular section of the society.

Bakery has brought a revolutionary change in food sector and has acquired an important place in today's culinary world. Bakery products comprise of biscuits, cookies, breads, buns, rusks, cakes, pastries, pizzas, doughnuts, puffs, patties, burgers and similar products.

Biscuits are ready to eat, convenient and inexpensive food products, containing digestive and dietary principles of vital importance. Biscuit owing to their long shelf life are considered useful for nutritional enrichment of vulnerable group of society. Cookies are an American term for biscuits. Breads have been in existence from ancient times and are been in the human diet from primitive days. These could be leavened or unleavened. There is a wide variety of breads available in the market right from the plain orthodox bread to specialized breads in terms of flavour and designs.

In India most of the bakeries are in unorganised sector which is not mechanised and doing work mostly with hands. Quality of the finished product depends on raw material used in bakery and conditions used during preparation. A number of high quality sophisticated machines and modern technology has made it possible to produce high quality products in shorter time.

Specialized baked products like high fibre biscuits and breads, whole wheat flour biscuits and breads, nutritious baked products like multi grain biscuits, low fat cookies, and digestive cookies are gaining attention of those clients who are health conscious and/or are suffering from some particular type of aliment.

Key ingredients used in bakery and confectionery industry:

As discussed the quality of the baked products depends on the quality of the raw materials used. Every ingredient has its own specific function and before doing baking and confectionery at commercial scale one must understand the functions of specific ingredients

1.Flour: This ingredient forms the base of almost every baked product and gives structure to the product. It must contain gluten which is a protein having elastic characteristic and plays an important all dough formation.

2.Sugar: Sugar gives a good colour and sweet taste to the baked products. It also imparts light, tender and even texture to the baked goods. It enhances the fermentation process and adds to the effectiveness of the bakers yeast.

3.Fat: It acts as an enriching agent and is used for lamination of the dough. It also provides volume and softness to the baked products. It acts as an emulsifying agent.

4.Eggs: It gives a characteristic texture to the baked products by coagulating gets the right shapes in the baked goods. It is an excellent enriching agent.

5.Salt: It strengthens the gluten formation and enhances the flavour and colour of the baked products. It also acts as a preservative and controls the growth of the yeast.

6.Water: it helps to retain the shape and gives rise to the sponges by changing it self in to steam. It also acts as a source of moisture that strengthens the gluten in the bread dough

Food Processing

Food Processing is the branch that converts the food articles and food items into healthy, nutritious tasty, hygienic and safe food products.

Now a day, there are numbers of techniques existing and available which can assist in maintaining and enhancing look and taste of food. With the help of Food processing techniques and methods we can produce and create the end products that are consumer friendly. These products after processing become ready to eat and fewer efforts are required for their preparation and cooking. When these methods are combined with the current distribution networks results in availability of the seasonal crops round the year in modern stores and grocery shops.

Food processing is done to remove toxins, to preserve food, to make the food easy to sell in different markets. Food processing also helps in increasing the seasonal availability, with food processing even a perishable food and delicate articles can be transported to far areas within the country and abroad. It also makes many food articles safe for consumption because it de-activates spoilages and many microorganisms. The Malls and showrooms selling food items could not have been there without Food processing. They only sell food articles which are processed. Now in India we can relish food items of all the continents just because of food processing techniques. Food processing techniques helps in adding extra minerals, nutrients, proteins and required elements for the body.

The processing method should be such that loss in nutritional value of food is minimal. The aesthetic qualities like colour, flavor, taste and texture deserve attention while processing. For food processing to make headway in the export market, the changes occurring in the global situation on the food scenario should be taken into full cognizance.

Food Packaging

From the prehistoric times, man has fought for his food and survival. The natural and man made emergencies like flood, famine and war insisted upon food preservation and packaging aspects. Earlier the man used natural containers like tree trunks, gourds, animal bladders and bones, weaved fibre/ grass baskets for storing food.

Military requirements have helped to accelerate or precipitate some key packaging developments. These included the invention of food canning in Napoleonic France and the increased use of paper-based containers in marketing various products, including soft cheeses and malted milk, due to the shortage of tinplate for steel cans during the First World War. The quantum growth in demand for pre-packaged foods and food service packaging since the Second World War has dramatically diversified the range of materials and packs used. These have all been made possible by developments in food science and technology, packaging materials and machine technology.

The world's total food production has more than doubled over the past fifty years due to improved methods in animal husbandry, the use of advanced seed varieties and crop protection products that boost crop yields and quality. Technological developments often need to converge in order for a packaging innovation to be adopted. These have included developments in transportation, post-harvest technology, new retail formats and domestic appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and microwave ovens. For example, the development of the microwave oven precipitated the development of convenience packaging for a wide range of foods. In addition, the socio-cultural and demographic trends, consumer lifestyles and economic climate have generated sufficient market demand for food packaging to succeed.

The package must be such that it should protect the packed food item from all the possible hazards and contaminations during its distribution, transportation from one place to another and during its storage and handling. The food package is also important for the manufacturers for sales and marketing the product. Most of the food articles come in packed form these days.

It is also very important and crucial that the package material used by the food processor should be as per the laws and should not adversely affect the health of the population. There are so many package materials which are used for packing the food items like paperboards, fiberboards, regenerated cellulose, polymer films, metal foil, rigid metals, glass etc. An appropriate packing is required for the success of any product and to prevent any contamination by microorganisms.

Packaging for consumer products is an area where supply and demand is continuously changing. Broad external influences on packaging for fast-moving consumer products include:

• Technological

• Political/ legal

• Socio-cultural

• Demographic

• Ecological

• ?Raw material availability

• Economic.

Packaging technology can be of strategic importance to a company, as it can be a key to competitive advantage in the food industry. This may be achieved by catering to the needs and wants of the end user, opening up new distribution channels, providing a better quality of presentation, enabling lower costs, increasing margins, enhancing product/brand differentiation, and improving the logistics service to customers.

Thus, there is a continual challenge to provide cost effective pack performance that satisfies the needs and wants of the user, with health and safety being of paramount importance. At the same time, it is important to minimize the environmental impact of products and the services required to deliver them. This challenge is continually stimulated by a number of key drivers – most notably, legislation and political pressure.

Sensory Evaluation of Food Products

Quality is a small term with vast meanings. Quality can be defined as the combination of characteristics of a product with the help of which the consumers or users determine the degree of acceptability. It means more the degree of acceptability, higher would be the quality of that product. Hence quality is something that gives complete satisfaction to the consumer. The term is used very casually for food products.

The definition of quality varies from commodity to commodity and from person to person. From industry view point quality is a measure of purity, strength, flavour, colour, maturity, workman ship and conditions or characteristic of the product. So quality has to be defined in terms of some standards or set parameters and is measured as degree of excellence. For food products quality is stressed as the measure of purity, strength, physico-chemical and sensory characteristics.

The overall quality of the product depends upon a number of factors like quantity, nutritional and other hidden attributes and sensory quality. The term quality also refers to keeping quality and some aspects of quality such as richness, condition, keeping quality, taste, smell and texture, origin of raw material and appearance of the product other than its condition needs considerations. Quality evaluation is basically done by using three methods; subjective, objective and microscopic.

Subjective method of quality evaluation is based on the opinion of the investigators. These are subjective because the individual is required to give his/her personal opinion as to qualitative and quantitative values of characteristics under study. These are also known as sensory methods because they include various sense organs.

Sensory quality is of great importance to the processor as the processor has to attract the consumer and to the consumer as it satisfies the aesthetic need of the consumer. Sensory attributes includes the appearance, flavour, odour, texture etc. Appearance of the product includes the colour, shape, size, uniformity and absence of the defects can be judged by the eye and are of great importance in food selection. Flavour involves the sense of taste, smell and feeling. For human beings the sense of taste is limited to sweetness, sourness and bitterness. Odour is a vast complex sensation which is the most important factor in flavour. The sensory qualities, particularly the flavour attributes are essentially to be measured subjectively.

From ancient times also, this judging of the products is a prerogative of the experts who have trained themselves to remember and distinguish small difference in order and taste of specific products and these were the untrained judges. But for more scientific approach such experts are being replaced by the panel of trained judges whose sensitivity and consistency have been established by trainings and repeated test. The trained panel is generally constituted of a small number and should have good health, high degree of personal integrity, sensitive taste buds, intellectual curiosity and interest in sensory evaluation, ability to concentrate and learn and above all he should not be a smoker or drinkers.

There are some specifics test methods used for sensory evaluation namely Paired comparison test, triangle test, ranking test two sample difference test, multiple sample difference test and hedonic rating test. Among all these the4 hedonic rating test is most popular and widely accepted test used as it is easy to evaluate and interpret.

Nowadays the sensory evaluation is carried out by different instruments to be more specific and accurate. Such instruments are highly sensitive and have high degree of precision and it minimizes human errors.

In today's era of changing scenario sensory evaluation must be accompanied by quality assessment to get safe and wholesome food in the market

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Author: Ashish Kumar18 Jul 2010 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

To my opinion,this entire industry of food packaging and juice bottling is complete hogwash and therefore should be completely banned.This has become an icentive to the adulterers to make easy money.Whatever package we buy in the name of processed food and healthy drinks are tinkered an tempered with resulting into a great health hazard.
What webenefit by eating un proceesed food cannot compare with the processed ones which are seldom as rich in vitamins and minerals,freshness and tastes.

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