Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE 2016 subject content

This exam will replace GCSE Food Technology, Catering and Food and Nutrition from 2016 (first teaching) and 2018 will be the first examination.

GCSE specifications in food preparation and nutrition must equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating.

In studying food preparation and nutrition, students must:
  • Demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking using a variety of food commodities, cooking techniques and equipment
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical processes as well as the nutritional content of food and drinks
  • Understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health, including the physiological and psychological effects of poor diet and health
  • Understand the economic, environmental, ethical, and socio cultural influences on food availability, production processes, and diet and health choices
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of functional and nutritional properties, sensory qualities and microbiological food safety considerations when preparing, processing, storing, cooking and serving food
  • Understand and explore a range of ingredients and processes from different culinary traditions (traditional British and international), to inspire new ideas or modify existing recipes
    GCSE specifications in food preparation and nutrition must enable students to make the connections between theory and practice so that they are able to apply their
    understanding of food and nutrition to practical cooking.
    Subject content – Nutrition
    Recommended guidelines for a healthy diet. How peoples’ nutritional needs change and how to plan a balanced diet for those life
    stages, including for those with specific dietary needs
    The recommended energy provided by protein, fat and carbohydrates (starch, sugars, fibre) and the percentage of daily energy intake the nutrients should
    contribute. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) and physical activity level (PAL) and their importance in determining energy requirements. How to maintain a healthy body
    weight throughout life
    The specific functions, main sources, dietary reference values and consequences of malnutrition of macronutrients and micronutrients
    How to calculate energy and nutritional values and plan recipes, meals and diets accordingly
    Major diet related health risks including obesity, cardiovascular, bone health, dental health, iron deficiency anaemia, diabetes
    The importance of hydration, the function of water in the diet
    The range of foods and ingredients to be studied in sections B and C should come from
    major commodity groups and reflect the recommended guidelines for a healthy diet.
    Food groups include
    bread, cereals, flour, oats, rice, potatoes, pasta
    fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, canned and juiced)
    milk, cheese and yoghurt
    meat, fish, eggs, soya, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds
    butter, oil, margarine, sugar and syrup

    Food provenance

  • where and how foods are grown, reared, or caught and the primary and secondary
  • stages of processing and production
  • how processing affects the sensory and nutritional properties of ingredients
  • the impact of food and food security on the environment, local and global markets
  • and communities
  • technological developments that claim to support better health and food
  • production, including fortification and modified foods with health benefits and the
  • efficacy of these
  • the development of culinary traditions in British and two international cuisines
  • their distinctive features and characteristics, traditional and modern variations of recipes, cooking methods, presentation and eating patterns

Food choice

  • how sensory perception guides the choices that people make, how taste receptors and olfactory systems work
  • the sensory qualities of a range of foods and combinations and understand how to set up tasting panels for preference testing
  • the range of factors that influence food choices, including enjoyment, preferences,
  • seasonality, costs, availability, time of day, activity, celebration, or occasion
  • the choices that people make about certain foods according to religion, culture, ethical belief or medical reason
  • how to make informed choices about food and drink to achieve a varied and balanced diet, including awareness of portion sizes and costs.
  • how the information about food available to the consumer, including food labelling and marketing, influences food choice
The scientific principles underlying the preparation and cooking of food:
  • why food is cooked
  • how heat is transferred to food through conduction, convection and radiation
  • appropriate cooking methods to conserve or modify nutritive value or improve palatability
  • understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients to achieve a particular result:
  • carbohydrates – gelatinisation, dextrinisation
  • fats/oils – shortening, aeration, plasticity and emulsification
  • protein – coagulation, foam formation, gluten formation, acid denature
  • fruit/vegetables – enzymic browning, oxidisation
  • how preparation and cooking affects the sensory and nutritional properties of food
  • food safety principles when buying, storing, preparing and cooking food:
  • how to store foods correctly and the importance of date marks
  • the growth conditions and control for enzyme action, mould growth and yeast production
  • the signs of food spoilage, including enzymic action, mould growth, yeast production and bacteria. Some bacteria have helpful properties in food production
  • the factors which affect bacterial growth – time, temperature, moisture and food availability
  • the types of bacterial cross contamination and their prevention


3 thoughts on “Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE 2016 subject content

  1. Too much content in specification to be covered in minimal timetable allowance set by most schools.


  2. Hello Penny – you can make comments to Ofsted before the exam is finalised. This content is still under revue. I agree it seems a lot, but the level of detail seems to be quite light. Jenny


  3. […] lobbied ferociously to keep food teaching on the curriculum. How pleased she would be to know that Food Preparation and Nutrition is the title for teaching in […]


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