VCE Food Studies

The food industry is a sector that is dynamic, diverse, forever changing and yet the one thing that is guaranteed to stimulate creativity and connections. VCE Food Studies focuses on the importance of food in our daily lives both a theoretical and practical point of view. Within the scope of the Unit 1-4 Food Studies there are cross-study specifications covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and history, food citizenship, food security and sovereignty, innovation and technology, issues in food, sustainability, health and wellbeing It enables the student to take their theoretical understanding and develop skills in food preparation and presentation. 

VCE Food Studies would interest students wishing to extend their food knowledge and skills. The study provides a framework for informed and confident food selection and food preparation within today’s complex architecture of influences and choices. Students explore food from a wide range of perspectives. 

Students study past and present patterns of eating, Australian and global food production systems and the many physical and social functions and roles of food. Students research economic, environmental and ethical dimensions of food and critically evaluate information, marketing messages and new trends. 

Practical work is integral to Food Studies and includes cooking, demonstrations, creating and responding to design briefs, dietary analysis, food sampling and taste- testing, sensory analysis, product analysis and scientific experiments. 

Food origins

This unit focuses on food around the world and in Australia. It looks at historical and cultural perspectives. Students gain an understanding of natural resources, climatic influences and social circumstances that have led to global variety in food commodities, cuisines and cultures. 

Students will use ingredients and food preparation techniques that have been used throughout time from an indigenous perspective and look at how food patterns have changed, particularly through the influence of food production, processing and manufacturing industries and immigration. 

Area of Study 1: Food around the world     

Area of Study 2: Food in Australia 

Food Makers

In this unit students investigate commercial and small-scale domestic food systems in contemporary Australia. This encompasses primary production as well as food processing and manufacturing, retail and food service. Students gain insight into the economic significance and the capacity of the food industry to provide safe, high-quality food. 

Students prepare food that is designed for a specific purpose. They explore potential entrepreneurial opportunities to extend their role as a food producer from a domestic to a commercial context. This is in the form of a design brief folio, which includes design, product testing, production, evaluation and marketing. 

Area of Study 1: Australia’s food systems  

Area of Study 2: Food in the home 

Food in daily life

This unit explores the science of food, our physical need for it and how it nourishes and sometimes harms our bodies. It incorporates the physiology of eating and the microbiology of digestion. The functional properties of food will be explored. Dietary models will be used to develop an understanding of diverse nutrient requirements. 

Patterns of food consumption and influences on food choice is focused on, incorporating behavioural principles and how our food values and behaviours develop within social environments. 

Practical work will focus on food science such as the chemical and physical changes that occur during food preparation and cooking and enable students to plan and prepare for various dietary needs. 

Area of Study 1: The science of food 

Area of Study 2: Food choices, health and wellbeing 

Food issues, challenges and futures

This unit focuses on issues about the environment, ecology, ethics, farming practices, the development and application of technologies, and the challenges of food security, food safety, food wastage and the use and management of water and land. 

The unit also looks into strategies to identify misinformation, enabling students to draw evidence-based conclusions to navigate contemporary food fads, trends and diets. 

The practical part of this unit will focus on ethical and environmental food production whilst keeping in alignment with current dietary models. 

Area of Study 1: Navigating food information 

Area of Study 2: Environment and ethics 


Units 3 and 4: School-assessed coursework for Units 3 and 4 will each contribute 30 percent to the final study score. 

The level of achievement for Unit 3 and 4 is also assessed by an end-of-year examination, which will contribute 40 percent to the final assessment. 

Selection Advice 

What kind of learner is best suited to study this subject? 

Food Studies provides content and assessment tasks that vary and can be adapted to many learning styles.  As the course has a theoretical and practical component it engages 4 of the predominant learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Read/ Write and Kinaesthetic. Food Studies provides a range of topics that will suit many especially those that like to apply the theory and practical components in real world settings.  

What key skills are required for success? 

Application of knowledge that specifically addresses practical situations, consistent revision of content and terminology. 

What are the learning activities in this subject like? 

Practical and theoretical applications, research inquiries, design tasks, concept mapping, content focus and interaction, critical thinking and communication and interactivity activities. 

What advice would you give to a student about to embark on this subject? 

Bring to each class your enthusiasm and love for the subject which provides a great foundation for success. An open mind, willingness to learn, creativity and a commitment to give your best effort with enable understanding and confidence.  As the subject has a blend of theory and practical components, it is important to recognise that they do not stand alone but support each other when covering the key knowledge and skills.  Throughout the course establish revision tools to assist with assessment tasks and the final examination. Where possible complete past assessment tasks to understand the format, terminology used and expectations with the quality of the responses. 

Student voice

Unit 3/4 Food Studies Class 2023 

‘We look forward to the days we have Food Studies classes as the structure is quite different to other subjects and requires different learning styles. VCE Food Studies provides you with information, tools and skills to improve your knowledge that can be use every day and into the future. It is an amazing opportunity to be creative, inventive and produce dishes that meet specific design briefs. The theory component can be challenging yet interesting and supports many of our other subjects. The staff are the best and make it a joy to come to class. Favourite memory of Unit 1-2 was the Grazing Boxes and 3-4 having the opportunity to make many of our own dishes to meet a variety of design briefs. With all units of Food Studies, the theory components, enhance our knowledge about nutrition and our own body to support positive mental health.  

Past Student Melanie Tozer : Physiotherapist 

“VCE Food Studies provided an amazing opportunity to be creative, inventive and develop skills that I’ll put into practice for life. I learned how to plan and create food to meet a specific design brief, developed skills in presenting and photographing the final product. The subject was such a fantastic creative outlet and I’ll be forever glad to have circled it on my subject selection form.” 

Studies in VCE Food Studies can lead to study and career options in the following areas:

Teacher/University lecturer, Food Technologist, Home Economist, Dietician, Food Journalist, Food Stylist, Food Photographer, Nutritionist, Consumer Advisor, Health Environmental Officer, Health Educator, Food Marketing, Dairy Technologist, Primary or Secondary Food Producer, Farming/ Market Gardening,

Quality Control Officer in the food industry, Food Scientist, CSIRO Researcher, Hospitality Industry: Catering, Patisserie Chef, Baker, Chef, Health and Food Promotions, Event Manager, Hospitality advisor, Recipe and Product Development, Waiter/Restauranteur