The initiative is being launched by the International Federation of Plant Bakeries (AIBI) in collaboration with UK consultancy firm BakeTran and a group of European universities.
"Students are no longer interested in learning baking technology, and those who do currently study this are not opting to enter into plant bakeries. They go for other industries, such as the milling or baking improvement industries, where they see different possibilities open to them," said Helmut Martell, secretary general of AIBI.
"Furthermore, the chairs of baking technology at universities are professors on the road to retirement. Lack of funding means that these positions will most likely not be continued, which will be a dramatic blow to the industry," he added.
One of the aims of the degree is to train personnel in the manufacture of a wide range of European bakery products, currently specific to individual countries.
"Markets are becoming more integtrated throughout Europe; bakers need to take a broader approach to product manufacture so that these specialized goods do not have to be imported," said Martell.
The educational course hopes to develop managers with the necessary scientific and technical skills for the modern baking industry, as well as to provide improved recognition for the industry as an opportunity for career development.
"This is a secure branch of employment. It can offer interesting careers and broad responsibilities at an early stage, including new product development, production processes and techniques, as well as close collaboration with marketing," Martell told BakeryAndSnacks.com.
The Executive MSc in European Food Technology and Management will be an 18-month part correspondence and part attendance course, due to be introduced in Autumn 2006.
The proposed course will consist of 12 months' study of business administration (4 elements) and manufacturing and production (7 elements), followed by a further six months dedicated to product quality and the consumer (5 elements).
Entry is subject to the student holding a degree in cereal science or a related discipline, together with a minimum of three years' bakery-related experience.
A six-month preparatoy course of basic science will be available for unqualified students.
Students will generally be recommended by their employer, who will also take charge of part of the €25,000 fee.