What is Food Processing
Food processing is a procedure in which food is prepared for consumption. People often use this term to refer specifically to making packaged foods, but technically anything which transforms raw ingredients into something else is a form of food processing, ranging from grilling vegetables in the back yard to making television dinners in a food manufacturing facility. The sector focused on processing food employs large numbers of people, many of whom are unskilled laborers.
There are several purposes to food processing. The most basic goal is to prepare food which is palatable. This can include processing ingredients which are not safe to eat raw, flavoring foods to make them more interesting, and making dishes which comply with cultural and religions norms surrounding food, in addition to addressing issues such as allergies. Processing food is also usually intended to make food which is nutritious, and can include activities such as food fortification, in which vitamins and minerals are added to food during processing to increase the nutritional value.
Safety is also a major concern in food processing, especially industrial processing to create packaged foods which are sold commercially. These facilities can be easily contaminated and the contamination can quickly spread, causing widespread illness. Part of making food safe includes processing it to remove any potential risks, such as bacteria in milk, in addition to maintaining strict safety procedures to reduce the risk of introducing harmful organisms during processing.
India has a strong resource base of agriculture. India is major producer of fruits & vegetables; it is the top producer of milk and has largest cattle population. We are third largest in marine landing and fifth in poultry production in the world. We have also a domestic market of over a billion population and 300 million strong middle class consumers.
Indian consumers spend more than 30 per cent of their income on food products. Food and food products are the largest consumption category in India and our domestic market will touch US $ 258 Billion by 2015 (FICCI-E&Y Report, 2009).