Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition : Overview, Objective & Subjects


Cambridge IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is the most widely recognized and accepted international qualification for students in the age group 14-16 years. Students taking up this course are allowed to choose from 70 subjects including 30 languages to complete their qualification and can opt for any combination depending on the school they are studying.

One of the subjects IGCSE – Food and Nutrition gives the students a chance to develop their knowledge and skills in a domain that relates to their daily lives and a complete understanding of where food and nutrition fit well in the modern, changing, multicultural society.

The aims of this Food and Nutrition course enable the students to develop

  • An understanding of nutrition and health problems associated with the diet
  • An awareness of how socio-economic factors affect diet
  • An understanding how the dietary needs and eating patterns vary within the people in the society
  • An understanding of how the position of the consumer goes in the developed and developing countries
  • An understanding and skills for food preparation
  • An awareness of the compulsory safety and hygienic requirements
  • An understanding of the food requirements so as to manage the family resources effectively
  • An awareness to make informed judgements and choices about the use of food available to the family in daily life
  • An aesthetic outlook to dietary patterns


Content Overview

The syllabus covers 14 topics as follows

  • Nutritional terms
  • Nutritive value of food
  • Digestion and absorption
  • Meal planning and dietary guidelines
  • Composition and value of the main foods in the diet
  • Cooking of food
  • Convenience foods
  • Basic proportions and methods of making
  • Raising agents
  • Food spoilage and hygiene
  • Food preservation
  • Kitchen planning
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Kitchen safety and first aid

Students must apply the gained knowledge in the classroom and use the practical skills considering the parameters such as personal/family needs and lifestyles, available money, and food resources, and the way diet relates to health.


Assessment Overview

Grades are allotted in the range A* – G based on the student’s performance, A* being the highest and G the lowest. All the students take two compulsory components for their assessment.

Paper Paper 1 Paper 2
Duration 2 hours 2 hours 30 minutes
Marks allotted 100 100
Weightage to the overall score 50% 50%
Question type Short, structured, and extended response questions Practical test – 2 parts
Details Tests the subject content Planning session and the actual practical test


Assessment Objectives (AO)

The assessment objectives are

AO1 – Knowledge and Understanding

  • Use the scientific and technological vocabulary and terminology
  • Show how the social, economic, and environmental factors affect the diet and nutritional requirements
  • Appreciate and use the scientific definitions, principles, and theories
  • Choose the relevant tools and equipment and use them correctly
  • Enhance their safety and hygienic requirements knowledge
  • Show an understanding of the basic quantities and methods of measurements


AO2 – Handling Information and Solving Problems

  • Read and interpret information
  • Translate information from one form to another
  • Follow and give instructions
  • Use the numerical data
  • Organize and manage time, money, energy/effort, resources, equipment, and tools related to a stated criteria
  • Estimate and measure accurately – area, capacity, mass, quantity, shape, size, temperature, time, and weight


AO3 – Experimental Skills and Investigations

  • Identify the problems
  • Follow and give instructions
  • Test and compare materials, methods, and equipment in food preparation
  • Find and interpret evidence to make judgments and choices
  • Give supporting statements for the judgements and choices
  • Identify priorities
  • Observe and record observations
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of course of action


Subject Content

The syllabus offered enables the schools to design a flexible course that will interest, challenge and engage the students. The content are as follows

  1. Terms used in nutrition and nutrition related problems –Diet, balanced diet, metabolism, malnutrition, undernutrition, overnutrition, deficiency disease
  2. Nutritive value of foods –Sources and functions of proteins, vitamins, mineral elements, and water
    Sources and uses of food energy
    Sources and uses of non-starch polysaccharide (NSP)/dietary fiber
  3. Digestion at each stage of the digestive system –mouth, stomach, duodenum, ileum
    Enzymes as catalysts
    Role of bile
    Absorption of nutrients
  4. Factors affecting the food requirements:
    Planning and serving of family needs
    Food plan for different ages, occupations, cultures, and religions
    Special needs for pregnant ladies, food allergic people, people with medical conditions, convalescents, and vegetarians including vegan and lacto-vegetarians
    Meals for special occasions, festivals, snacks, beverages
    Use of spice, herbs, and garnishes
    Presentation of the prepared food
    Terminologies used in dietary intakes
    Use of nutritional tools
  5. Sources of proteins, cereals, fruits, and vegetables including pulses and nuts, fats and oils
  6. Cooking of food
    Transfer of heat by conduction, convection, and radiation
    Methods of cooking – baking, boiling, braising, cooking in microwave oven, frying, grilling, poaching, pressure cooking, roasting, simmering, steaming, stewing and use of a slow cooker
    Reasons for cooking food
    Sensory properties of food
    Effect of dry and moist heat on proteins, fats and oils, sugars and starches, and vitamins
    Preparation of food to preserve the nutritive value of food
    Economical use of food, equipment, food, and labor
  7. Partially prepared food by a food manufacturer – dehydrated, tinned, frozen, ready- to eat, cook-chill
    Intelligent use of foods
    Food additives
  8. Basic proportions and methods of making – biscuits, pastries, batters, sauces, sweet and savoury yeast products
  9. Raising agents – air, carbon-dioxide, and water vapour: ways of introducing these gases into a mixture
  10. Food spoilage and hygiene :
    Action of enzymes, bacteria, yeast, and mould
    Personal, food and kitchen hygiene
    Food storage
  11. Food preservation:
    Reasons for preserving food
    Methods of preservation
    Key points involved in milk pasteurization and sterilization and in the production of UHT milk, evaporated and condensed milk, and dried milk
    Use of enzymes and bacteria in the manufacture of cheese and yogurt
  12. Kitchen planning:
    Organization of the cooking area and equipment for efficient work
    Choice, use and care of – work surfaces, flooring, walls and coverings, lighting, and ventilation
  13. Kitchen equipment
    Choice and care of:
    Microwave ovens
    Slow electric cook pots
    Refrigerators and freezers
    Knives, pans
    Food processors, kettles
    Advantages and disadvantages of micro-ovens
  14. Kitchen safety and first aid:
    Awareness of potential danger areas in the kitchen
    Safety precautions
    First aid for burns and scalds, cuts, electric shock, fainting, shock


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What is Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition?

Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition is a course designed to develop students’ understanding of the science of food and nutrition. It covers topics such as food preparation, food safety, food hygiene, and the nutritional needs of individual and groups.

What topics are covered in Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition?

Cambridge Food & Nutrition covers topics such as food groups and nutrients, food preparation and cooking techniques, food safety and hygiene, food choice and health, and global food issue.

What are the benefits of studying Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition?

Studying Cambridge IGCSE Food & Nutrition can provide students with valuable skills and knowledge related to food preparation, health and nutrition, and food safety. It can also lead to further study or careers in fields such as nutrition, dietetics, or food science.

How can I prepare for Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition?

Some ways to prepare for Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition include reviewing course materials, practicing food preparation techniques, studying national guidelines and requirements, and seeking guidance from teachers and tutors.

What is the career scope of Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition?

A qualification in Cambridge IGCSE Food and Nutrition can lead to further study or careers in fields such as nutrition, dietetics, food science, catering, hospitality, or public health.

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