Background: This study aimed to investigate food experts' views on important nutrition and food systems knowledge issues for education purposes at schools in Iran. Methods: In 2012, semi-structured, face-to-face or telephone interviews were conducted with twenty-eight acknowledged Iranian experts in food and nutrition fields. Participants were selected from four major provinces in Iran (Te-hran, Isfahan, Fars and Gilan). Open-ended interview questions were used to identify nutrition and food systems knowledge issues, which experts considered as important to be included in school education programs. Qualitative interviews were analyzed thematically using NVivo. Results: A framework of knowledge that would assist Iranian students and school-leavers to make informed decisions in food-related areas was developed, comprising five major clusters and several sub-clusters. Major knowledge clusters included nutrition basics; food production; every day food-related practices; prevalent nutritional health problems in Iran and improvement of students' ethical attitudes in the food domain. Conclusion: These findings provide a guide to curriculum developers and policy makers to assess current education curricula in order to optimize students' knowledge of nutrition and food systems.