OBJECTIVES: To describe which functions potential employers of public health nutritionists in Norway find important for a person trained in public health nutrition to be able to carry out. Further, to illustrate how the findings were used in the development of a curriculum for a bachelor in public health nutrition at Akershus University College. DESIGN: A non-random, cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire with both pre-coded and open-ended questions. SUBJECTS: Ninety-one establishments working in various fields more or less related to nutrition responded (response rate of 45 %). RESULTS: Local offices of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority were over-represented among respondents. Functions related to communication and food and nutrition laws and regulations were most frequently rated as important by the respondents. Functions in nutrition research, project work and policy and planning were also regarded important by more than half of the respondents. The priorities of the potential employers together with the additional comments and suggestions were taken into account when a new curriculum on public health nutrition was developed. CONCLUSIONS: The assessment of functions prioritized by employers of public health nutritionists gave a valuable input for developing a new curriculum in public health nutrition. It reflected the challenges of the real world that public health nutritionists will work in and therefore helped making the curriculum potentially more relevant.