Levina Soetyono is a postgraduate student majoring in food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also earned his bachelor’s degree in the same major from California State University in Northridge, California. Before getting to know the world of food science, Levina had taken a major in nutrition during her undergraduate studies.
“In my 3rd year I realized I wasn’t the one sitting in the clinic explaining to other people that they had to eat ABC, like a doctor. I’m more interested in making my own food,” he explained.
In the field of food science, Levina learns a lot about the industry from a variety of foods, such as snacks that are commonly found in supermarkets.
“We learn how to analyze the quality of the food, the systems (packaging), the manufacturing systems in the factory, as well as the nutrition, and also the microbiological aspects of the food,” he added.
Not Just Being a Scientist
According to Levina, studying food science does not only have to be a scientist or researcher working in a laboratory. Levina herself has worked in the food quality control department. At that time he worked for a factory that produced roasted nuts which could be bought in bulk.
“Because the nuts have to be put in a lot supermarket so there are a lot of documents to audit. It’s quite interesting because we also learn from kayaking raw materialits we have to know. The goods arrived at the factory in what condition? microbiology-his? Is it still save to consume? Continue country of originall kinds of things,” said Levina.
In the future, Levina plans to use her knowledge and go into the research and development of food products.
“We see that in the market now there are many cool new food products, starting from the taste, potato chip the new one. Well, that’s all behind it there food scientist which formulates what seasonings, what concoctions are new, how to make for example, potato chips more and more crispy,” he explained.
What Are Food Science Jobs?
According to Dimyati Yusuf, Asia Pacific regional director for quality assurance and compliance at Johnson and Johnson, food technology experts, especially those with a business spirit, can help micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs in Indonesia.
“So helping here can also introduce basic technology in MSMEs. For example, how do you pack, vacuum a food so that it lasts longer, what kind of packaging is suitable for this kind of vacuum, what are the simplest and cheapest tools, what are the requirements. And they will also understand about validation, what are the points? critical in MSMEs that must be controlled. What must be checked so that there is no food spoilage,” explained Dimyati Yusuf to VOA.
For the past 13 years, Iswandi Jarto has worked as a research engineering manager in food technology for the Hilmar Cheese Company in Hilmar, California. Every day, Iswandi’s company takes around 7 million liters of milk, to produce about 700 thousand kilograms of cheese and 50 tons of whey protein (red. water left over from cheese production) every day.
Apart from helping with the development of new products, Iswandi also learns the latest technologies and techniques in the food manufacturing process, which can make work more efficient.
“In food engineering, we learn to understand what food really is, what are the mechanics of making food, how to make that food functionalif we say functionIt has taste, has texture, has attributes that make humans want to eat like that. But also how do you think to still be able to nutritiousand healthy for us people who eat like that,” he said
Iswandi never thought before to pursue the world of food technology in America. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, he wanted to find a more concrete field and became interested in food science. Iswandi then decided to continue his master’s study majoring in food science and engineering at the same university.
According to Iswandi, the relationship between food and humans is very personal. Whatever enters the body, it is very important to know. This is what makes it steady to dive deeper into this field.
“For example, where I work, one of our mottos is that we want to be the number one industry that can also help people, not just eating empty food, but food that must be able to nutritious,” he said.
With advances in technology, the challenge faced by professionals in the food science field like himself is finding ways to continuously adapt to new technologies.
“For example, now we use a lot (non-animal protein). So basically make protein like milk or meat, but don’t use animals, but through fermentation. I think it’s like (a challenge),” he explained.
Diverse Food Technology Jobs
Recent data from the statistics bureau shows that employment as agricultural and food specialists is projected to grow by 9 percent in 2020 to 2030. The number of job vacancies offered in this field annually is projected to reach around 4,400.
Jobs related to food technology are quite diverse. However, there are still many people who do not understand this field. As stated by Zenia Adiwijaya, the Indonesian diaspora who is engaged in food technology in America and has a master’s education background majoring in design and management systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT in Massachusetts.
“Honestly, when I took food science, when I came back to Indo(my family) is still like that ‘What do you want to be? Want to be a chef?’ That’s right, it’s like oh no, (food science) is different chef,” he said.
In fact, as an expert in the field of food technology, there is no demand to be able to cook.
“Not at all. So I work at a company whose last name is Addition Nutrition, it’s (interesting) really, it’s like (making a product called) RUSF, Ready to Use Therapeutic Food. So it’s like (high protein food packages) for children (who are malnourished). And there they employ food scientists and they (hire) from culinary school,” he said.
Together with MIT, Zenia developed a project called Nutriolab, where she acts as a food consultant for food businesses in Indonesia.
“That time was visionit’s more like helping small enterprises in Indonesia like people who want to make food businesses. How do they get it (credible sources on food science) for them (to develop products),” he said.
To friends who want to pursue food technology, Zenia advised them to study various career paths.
“Food science is really very broad, it could be (nutrition developer), it could be (start-up company founder), or like there is a lot of potential that can be done from the (food science) side,” said Zenia.
Do not forget Zenia also advised to continue to find out more about the field of work you want to pursue and the goals you want to achieve. [di/ab/dw]