“I shared my product ideas with the company and one of the owners wrote to me saying that they were interesting novel, and can be implemented”, remembers Kiran Subbarayadu from India, currently studying his PhD at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU). Kiran’s proactive attitude paid off more than once. After the above-mentioned correspondence, he landed a job in a Polish company where he developed a product that was labelled Top Innovation at the annual global food and beverage fair Anuga 2021.
“The work culture in Poland was not so different from that in Lithuania; I could find many similarities between both”, says Kiran.
However, working in the field made him thirsty for knowledge. Thus, the fairly recent KTU Food Science and Safety graduate decided to come back to Kaunas to study.
“Choosing Lithuania for the second time was easy, as I was familiar with the university, people, and the lovely city”, says Kiran.
The development of innovative products and winning prizes for them is not a new activity for Subbarayadu. While studying his master’s at KTU he together with a team developed a healthy drink mix from buckwheat. The innovation not only received the Technorama Innovation Fair prize in 2018 for the best new product but also helped Kiran find his first job in the food industry.
“As I was very interested in the development of new products, this success ignited a passion for working in the food industry and helped me get a summer internship at Ekofrisa company for two months. Later, I continued working there and was involved in the development of various new buckwheat products in the snack and breakfast categories”, says Kiran.
During his work in Ekofrisa, he learned a lot about product scaling procedures – from lab to commercial scale, and gained a plethora of knowledge about industrial control procedures.
“All my colleagues were very supportive of my product ideas”, says Kiran.
After graduating with a master’s in Food Science and Safety in 2020, Kiran decided to take a challenge – he accepted a food technologist position at JETTING SYSTEMS Robert Karabon (POPCROP) in Gdańsk, Poland.
“The company is a young start-up. I was responsible for most of the functions in the industry, and this was both challenging and fun”, says a KTU student from India.
Working in the position, he developed two sorts of innovative vegan, allergen-free and gluten-free snacks. Cheese-flavoured chips created by Subbarayadu were labelled top innovation at Anuga 2021, the world’s largest food and beverage fair, which took place in Cologne, Germany. The product contains no artificial ingredients and is slowly baked from whole grains.
Kiran found the working culture in Poland very similar to that of Lithuania, and the previous knowledge gained both through the studies and work experience was very useful: “Thanks to studies, I could gain access to the information and make faster decisions. The previously acquired industrial knowledge helped with the documentation procedures.”
However, working in the food processing industry motivated Kiran to get deeper into the science and research aspects of the field. Therefore, he applied for PhD studies at his alma mater, KTU.
“Doctoral studies will give me the freedom of scientific learning and knowledge expansion. Furthermore, the PhD degree will strengthen my research abilities and pave my way to a better career”, Kiran is convinced.
Studying at KTU, he appreciates the balance between the technical knowledge and research opportunities provided.
“While studying for my master’s I could acquire expertise in various aspects of food science and safety. Specialised modules, including microbiology, dairy technology, food quality, food safety management, food toxicology, and most importantly, advanced food chemistry, provided further insight into the complex process of developing food products from the farm to the fork”, says Kiran.
During his PhD in Chemical Engineering, he is expanding his knowledge on the challenges and opportunities of food product development. His doctoral research work focused on developing new generation probiotic foods.
Although busy with his doctoral studies and research, KTU student from India finds time to enjoy living in Kaunas.
“I already have many friends in Lithuania and I find new ones every day”, says Kiran, adding that in summer he mostly enjoys swimming in lakes, taking long walks by the riverside and biking through forests.
He believes that doctoral studies will help him secure the future, and is convinced that Lithuania is a very good choice for those looking for quality education.
“This will be the choice that you will never regret”, says Kiran, encouraging everyone to take the chance.
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