Main Contact and Project Leader
Dr. Itapu has a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked for five years in the Department of Food Science, Purdue University, U.S.A, Dr. Itapu completed a professional baking course at the American Institute of Baking (AIB), Manhattan, KS, U.S. From 2000-2009, Dr. Itapu worked from New Delhi as Technical Director and then as Global Technical Director – Human Nutrition with ASA-International Marketing (ASA-IM) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council. Dr. Itapu helped ASA-IM global offices in various countries to effectively manage their programs to promote U.S. soy food products. During this time, Dr. Itapu also developed a worldwide soy food strategy for the organization and a position paper on soy protein promotion. As Global Technical Director, Dr. Itapu worked closely with soy and food industries in Japan, Taiwan, China, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Hong Kong. He worked as Technical Director – Human Nutrition (South Asia) for seven years, collaborating with Indian food industry representatives, entrepreneurs and health care professionals on the promotion of soybeans. During this time, Dr. Itapu was responsible for significantly growing the consumption of soy foods in India across different segments of the population; the consumption of soybean for food use in India rose by more than ten folds during this period. During this time, he also assessed the Sri Lanka market and introduced soy food products into Sri Lanka as well as into Pakistan and Bangladesh. Dr. Itapu has authored several scientific and popular articles in reputed international journals and trade magazines. After leaving ASA-IM, Dr. Itapu started his own consultancy service, and also on a part-time basis took charge as Executive Director for the Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association (SFPWA) to continue soy food promotion activities in India. In 2013, Dr. Itapu moved from Delhi to Hyderabad from where he continues his consulting activities, as well as helping a local NGO (Society for Energy, Environment and Development) with its R&D activities in food processing. Major soybean-relation contributions made by Dr. Itapu include:
- Designed, developed and introduced commercially successful protein supplements and fortified foods for different target groups;
- Introduced a number of commercial soy food products in the Indian market through small, medium and large scale food industries;
- Convinced Indian and other Asian food industry representatives of the functional, nutritional and economic value of fortifying processed foods with soy and micronutrients, and also was involved in the introduction of functional and nutritional products in regional developing and mature markets;
- Promoted and demonstrated soy products as a functional and nutritional ingredient at a number of bakery and food seminars in India and other countries (U.S., Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Kenya, Argentina, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Hong Kong);
- Worked closely with US ingredients suppliers and U.S., Indian and other Asian food industries, and established links between US and Asian soy and food industries;
- Worked closely with US academic and research institutes (including AIB, KSU, UIUC, Texas A&M) and liaised between Asian food industries and U.S. academic/research institutions;
- Worked very closely with health care professionals and conducted a number of Continuous Medical Education programs for medical professionals, focused on health and nutrition;
- Worked closely with Indian soy, food, bakery, flour milling, pharmaceutical industries and ingredients suppliers; and
- Worked with different R&D institutions and universities to develop appropriate products for the Indian market.
Dr. Itapu will lead the development of the protocols for meetings and other market survey activities. He will travel to selected in-country markets to conduct surveys, interacting with lead industry representatives. Along with the other Team members, Dr. Itapu will analyze the market data and provide conclusions and recommendations in the report. He will be the key technical person developing a proposed future strategy for promotion of U.S. soy in this market.