‘Develop innovative foods that help reduce stress’
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‘Develop innovative foods that help reduce stress’

December 8, 2022

Mysore/Mysuru: A three-day national conference on ‘Futuristic strategies for sustainment of troops in different terrains,’ organised by Mysuru-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, began at Hotel Southern Star in city last evening.

The conference is being organised to bring together researchers, tri-service (Army, Navy & Air Force) users, industry participants and academics on a common platform to debate the current challenges faced by all stakeholders and to develop concepts for technical solutions.

It intends to create a common forum where experiences, difficulties and future course of action and strategies will be discussed. Inaugurating the conference, Dr. Upendra Kumar Singh, Director General (Life Sciences), DRDO, told the DFRL scientists to ensure that quality, hot and energy-boosting food products must be supplied to Defence Forces.

Effective R&D for innovation

“It is important for the DFRL to redefine its roles and collaborate with the industry in Research and Development (R&D) as this is crucial to become ‘Atmanirbhar’ in all productions. Nearly 25 percent of the funding for R&D now given to the industry other than the labs with the focus on bringing in innovation,” he said.

New markets have been created over the years and the DFRL now is fulfilling the orders placed by organisations like the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). There is tremendous demand for DFRL products in the other markets too and the time has come to explore those avenues, Singh added.

“We must strive to provide food products as per the needs of the Defence services and they must be tailor-made to suit their requirements. Apart from being visually appealing, the food products must be tasty, hygienic and must, at the same time, be nutritious for the soldiers to withstand the hostile surroundings,” the DRDO DG said.

Speciality foods

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Complementing the DFRL for coming to the rescue of people who are hit by natural disasters, Singh said that DFRL can now think beyond and come up with innovative foods that help reduce stress, developing foods with special ingredients. “The institution must partner with industry and academia to bring about the change in this competitive world. Make use of the grants provided by the Centre to innovate,” he added.

Dr. R. Umamaheswaran, Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC), ISRO, Bengaluru, too spoke about how DRDO could pursue innovation while it excelled in providing food products for all-terrain and all weather conditions. He recalled how DFRL was able to develop speciality foods for the astronauts.

Dr. Anil Dutt Semwal, Director, DFRL, outlined DFRL’s contributions since its inception and the way forward. Commodore Manoj Sharma, Principal Director, C and V, Naval HQ, also spoke on the occasion. Dr. Samir V Kamat, Secretary, DDR&D (Department of Defence R&D) and Chairman, DRDO, Sanjeev Kumar and R. Kumar, Scientists, were present.

DFRL products on display, sale

On the occasion, new technologies developed by the DFRL were released by the dignitaries. An exhibition was organised to display the DFRL products including biodegradable cutlery, milk testing kit (Mark II), biscuits and snacks that can be kept for over a year, multilayer degradable food packaging materials and biodegradable films for packaging applications.

A DFRL statement said that the institution is involved in a research and development project to build a technology platform by utilising cutting-edge food processing technologies.

The conference will debate dietary needs of the soldiers, nutritional delivery, sustainable food packaging, hybrid technology for food processing, modern methods and strategies for evaluating the safety and quality of food. It will design food processing and packaging systems with artificial intelligence assistance and discuss the R&D for 3-D printing technology to create culinary products.

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