Inauguration Of AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter And Web Talk By Dr. Rohit Upadhyay
The Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (India), established in 1957, is one of the largest professional and educational organizations, with around 3500 members - food scientists and technologists, across the globe. The primary objective of AFST(I) is to stimulate and advance knowledge base on various aspects of Food Science and Technology by organizing National and International Conferences and bringing out technical publications including prestigious journals-Journal of Food Science and Technology (JFST) and Indian Food Industry Mag (IFI Mag). The association recognizes talent and excellence in the profession of Food Science and Technology by conferring various Awards and Fellowship. AFST(I) membership is open to all food professionals engaged in academic, industrial and other related activities.
The Department of Food Process Engineering at the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela organized an inaugural function of AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter on 19 September 2020, followed by Web talk by Dr Rohit Upadhyay, Flavor Specialist (Project Manager) at Nestle R&D, India on the topic of "Trending research inclinations of food industries in recent times”.
The inaugural function was started by Miss Deepika Sakthivel (PhD Scholar of the Department of Food Process Engineering) who welcomed all the dignitaries and students to the webinar. The Head of the Department and the President of the AFST(I) Rourkela chapter Prof. Rama Chandra Pradhan welcomed all the guests including Prof. Saroj Kumar Patel (Dean Academics, NIT Rourkela), Prof. Sushil Kumar Singh (Vice President and Treasurer, AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter), Prof. Madhuresh Dwivedi (Secretary, AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter), Dr Bhupendar Singh Khatkar (President, AFST(I)), Dr K.V. Harish Prashanth (Secretary, AFST(I)) and other local participants of the webinar.
Prof. Rama Chandra Pradhan then addressed the audience and went on to describe the prime objectives of AFST(I). He proudly informed that the AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter is the first local chapter in the state of Odisha.He expected that the Rourkela Chapter of AFST(I) reaches new heights and produces great innovation and technologies. He then invited Prof. Saroj Kumar Patel (Dean Academics, NIT Rourkela) to inaugurate the brochure of AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter.
The brochure contained information about AFST(I) and the local chapter. It also contained the name of all the Office Bearers of the AFST(I) Rourkela chapter. They are Dr Rama Chandra Pradhan (President), Dr Sushil Kumar Singh (Vice President), Dr Madhuresh Dwivedi (Secretary). Executive Committee members are Dr SS Shrikole, Dr Vivek K., Ms Deepika S and Mr Abdullah S.
Ms Deepika then took over the proceedings and gave a brief introduction about Dr Rohit Upadhyay. The overall plan of the webinar was divided into four sections- Changing Technology World, Protein-based Trends, Fat-based Trends, Clean labelled Trends and Closure.
CHANGING TECHNOLOGY WORLD
The session started with Dr Rohit, presenting about the importance of customers in the industry. Technology is not only driven by the food that the Food Industry is producing, but by the consumers who are the main reason for the growth. Companies and Research Institutions are innovating the technology themselves according to the need of consumers.
The top trends are divided into two classes- Adding things to food products and taking out the unnecessary things away from our food products.
Consumers are calling on the companies for adding high proteins and fibres in their diet as the lifestyle of people is changing and are much into fitness regimes. Probiotics and Prebiotics are good for health, and they have found a special place in food products. Dr Rohit had the following say on things that are needed to be taken away from the food products-
Gluten and Lactose-free products are in high demand in the market because many people are gluten and lactose resistant. Sustainable proteins are being discovered that can replace egg and chicken protein. Artificial colours and preservatives are also going to be replaced by natural substitutes.
PROTEIN BASED TRENDS
There is an increased interest beyond animal-based protein products nowadays, and people are looking toward plant-based protein products. Dr Rohit put a great emphasis on Soy which is considered as the best plant protein in the industry because of its excellent functional properties.
Commercial Plant-based proteins are nuts, lentils, rice proteins, chia seeds, fava beans and potato-based proteins. Chia seeds have a wide range of applications in the food industry because of its emulsifying activities and good textural properties.
Dr Rohit then went on to show the attendees the power of pulses. According to him-
Pulses constitute 60 to 70 per cent of amino acids, which is a good amount. New introductions and technologies are needed to be introduced in developing the pulses as they will play a vital role in fulfilling the protein-based needs of the people. Food Security and malnutrition are major issues in India and African countries, and cheap sources of proteins like pulses can solve these issues.
Sustainability factors were also discussed in the webinar. Developing plant protein will help us to decrease our carbon footprints and growing a plant rather than slaughtering an animal is a much viable option. When asked about the challenges and solutions for producing and innovating plant-based proteins, Dr Rohit said-
The major issue is with the taste of plant-based proteins. They don't have a perfect taste or flavour initially and have an inherent bitter taste. We can solve the problems through technological interventions. Textural studies are required so that we can modify the plant processes. Contribution of Academia and Researchers will help us in this regard.
FAT BASED TRENDS
This part of the session was started with the introduction of saturated fats. Saturated fats are bad for our health but are very hard to be eliminated from our diet because they have textural properties that are difficult to eliminate.
The point of discussion then drifted to the usefulness of coconut oil and how some new fats in the industry are replacing it. The new fats are rich in linoleic acids and oleic acids. Coconut fat is a unique fat that gives us a medium-chain triglyceride which has digestibility close to glucose. It has digestibility and absorbabilities like glucose and sucrose and hence acts as a source of energy in the body.
When asked about the high oleic oils, Dr Rohit answered-
High oleic oils are much more stable to oxidative rancidity than the conventional oils used in the kitchen. Any oilseed which is rich in oleic acid will have a tremendous demand in the food industry because of its higher shelf life and health benefits.
Omega 3 fatty acids are also clubbed in the essential fatty acids list. They are required for cognitive functions and have a great role in biosignal processing in the body. Fishes and Algae are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Still, the researchers are looking for alternatives like Chia seeds and black seeds.
CLEAN LABEL BASED TRENDS
The food items coming under this are entirely natural and are free from artificial preservatives and chemicals.
Antioxidants were earlier produced artificially but are now slowly being replaced by plant-based antioxidants like rosemary based antioxidants and herbal extracts. Herbal extracts were known from a very long time but are currently researched extensively. Artificial colours are now replaced by natural colours that come from algal sources and spices. When asked about the challenges to produce clean label based products, Dr Rohit answered-
Product performance is sometimes questioned, and they also degrade once they face varieties of processes. Commercial viability also comes into question which is generally less than the artificial products.
Dr Rohit ended his webinar by raising a crucial point;
We should start thinking about sustainable ways to produce food products. We should ensure to protect our environment while producing food and should also maintain safety standards. We should also search for options that could ensure food security and solve the problem of malnutrition.
The last part of the web talk session was the Question and Answer session, where the attendees of the webinar cleared their doubts and also discussed many developments in the food industry.
Vice President of AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter Prof. Sushil Singh extended a hearty Vote of Thanks to all the respected dignitaries of the inaugural function. He expected that the Rourkela Chapter of AFST(I) reaches new heights and produces great innovation and technologies.
Team Monday Morning hopes that the AFST(I) Rourkela Chapter is a massive success in the coming future and can fulfil the primary objective of AFST(I) which is to stimulate and advance knowledge base on various aspects of Food Science and Technology.