BENGALURU: FOBICS - Food and Biotechnology Consultancy Services - was started with the idea of transferring technologies from the various technology-developing agencies. It provides the knowledge base and technological support to micro, small and medium enterprises by rendering competent and innovative technical services in the food and biotech sector.
The startup gives a multi-dimensional approach to clients, incorporating elements such as food safety management, food laws and regulations, suitability of raw materials and ingredients – their testings and analysis, packaging and shelf life requirements, designing of process, sensory parameters, besides developing the products to meet the specific requirements of the consumers, etc. In short, it act as a facilitator between technology generators/providers and the industry, with an innovative approach to provide value-added services in the sector.
FOBICS was a joint idea mooted by five retired scientists from CSIR Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in April 2015. The scientists are, MG Byndoor, Dr NG Karanth, A Ramesh, Dr NG Malleshi, and TR Prabhu.
According to the directors, the food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India, and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth. It even attracts foreign direct investment (FDI). The opportunities in food and grocery retail in India are immense, with biotechnological intervention being the answer to increase food production.
“We advice the clients to get reliable market data for their products and assured quality raw material supply for the production. We give assistance by way of process development, project feasibility reports, plan design, machinery selection and trouble shooting in the plants,” adds MG Byndoor.
In recent times, FOBICS is also involved in organising seminars and training programmes for industry personnel. Most of the work is carried out by the directors themselves with the help of some non-technical assistance. There are a good number of retired food technologists in Mysuru, and they are employed as resource persons whenever needed.
In the last three years, half a dozen new entrepreneurs have been benefited by FOBICS’s services. Also, a couple of established industries have availed FOBICS’s services for diversification and expansion projects.
“FOBICS' vision is to offer world-class expertise combined with local and traditional knowledge in food advisory services, to become a one-stop centre for all food and biotech-based value added services, and also in offering innovative food and biotech advisory solutions. We have plans for establishing a small pilot plant and laboratory in the near future for developing and optimising the processes,” adds Prabhu.
Ramesh says, “Mysuru is where the Central Food Technological Research Institute's (CSIR) and Defence Food Research Laboratory's (DRDO) – two of the major food R&D Institutions in the country - are located. There is a lot of scope for establishing companies in Mysuru. Our advice to entrepreneurs is to provide good quality control systems, and to use attractive and informative packages.”
About the directors
MG Byndoor, an electronics engineer, after a long stint at CFTRI, has established Murhopye Scientific Industries, for design and manufacturing food and biotech process equipment. Dr NG Karanth, a reputed bio-chemical engineer, has been a consultant in the biotech industry for many years.
A Ramesh is a mechanical engineer and former head of the Food Engineering Department, who specialised in the development and design of food processing plants and machinery. Dr NG Malleshi, the fourth director, is a specialist in grain science technology, and TR Prabhu is a qualified food technologist specialised in processing and quality control of foods.