The news comes as A level food technology students across the country opened their exam results today with 7% gaining A* grades and 13% managing to get As.
Food and drink industry leaders have warned that axing the A level would damage the sector and increase the skills gap by deterring young people from entering it.
The number of food technology students fell 5% from 1,127 young people in 2014 to 1,071 students this year, according to data from AQA and Pearson exam boards.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said the lack of take up of food technology showed an image problem and misunderstandings of the food manufacturing sector.
“It is always concerning to hear a subject that could support these pathways may no longer be available,” a FDF spokeswoman said.
“Our members continue to report skills gaps, particularly in engineering and food science.”
‘Mixed bag for business’
Food technology A level results 2015
- A* - 7.2%
- A - 12.9%
- B - 26.6%
- C - 26.3%
- D - 18.1%
- E - 7.9%
- U - 0.9%
Meanwhile, manufacturers’ organisation EEF raised concerns over a dip in the number of students taking sciences and a decrease in top grades for physics, maths and chemistry.
Verity O’Keefe, senior skills policy adviser at EEF, said: “Today’s A level results present a mixed bag for business.
“Industry applauds all those young people who have chosen to study challenging STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects and the 4% jump in the number of young people taking maths at A level is encouraging.”
O’Keefe said the government, schools and industry needed to encourage more girls to study STEM subjects because manufacturers needed a wide pool of talent.
“Without greater encouragement for girls to take up key subjects such as maths and physics, that pool remains worryingly shallow,” she said.
Design and technology, which includes food technology as one of its subjects, saw a 3% dip in student numbers compared to last year.
‘Pool remains worryingly shallow’
The Department for Education (DfE) said food technology did not “fit comfortably” under design and technology while universities value the sciences to get onto food nutrition and science courses.
“For those students wanting to progress to a career in food, there are career-specific vocational qualifications, for example in confectionery/butchery,” the DfE said.
Industry bosses and FoodManufacture.co.uk readers slammed the DfE's plans to ditch A level food technology and claimed it could be detrimental to the sector's future.
A consultation on GCSE and A level reforms closes on September 24.
For more information visit the consultation website.
Top decreases in numbers taking A level subjects
Please click on the graph to enlarge.