30 May 2024


The expert discussion ‘Food as Medicine’ is part of the business programme of the ‘Ensuring Drug Security’ Russian Pharmaceutical Forum, which will take place on 5 June 2024 on the opening day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). The Forum is being organized by the Roscongress Foundation with the support of the Russian Ministry of Health and the Russian State Duma’s Committee on Health Protection.

Despite the wide variety and apparent abundance of modern products, accessibility to healthy food remains a global challenge. The UN estimates that more than three billion people do not have access to a healthy diet, and more than a billion are obese. Over the past 30 years, the number of adults with this diagnosis has doubled, while the incidence among children has quadrupled. The high cost of healthy food and people’s lack of awareness about truly healthy or harmful eating habits have drastically shifted the focus of mass consumer demand towards products that provide a basic supply of energy, but cause deficiencies in vital nutrients and vitamins.

The session will be moderated by EFKO Group Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors Sergey Ivanov: “We invest a lot in biotechnology and cellular nutrition,” he said. “This is a complex and new market for us, but perhaps the most inspiring of everything that we do, because it offers hope to completely rethink the way we look at health and how closely it is connected to what we eat. And the dream that we are trying to realize through our projects is to help people take care of their health, and for adults from 50 to 80 years old feel the same way as they felt from age 30 to 50.”

Various estimates indicate that it will cost the world more than USD 30 billion from 2010 to 2030 to treat excess weight and related chronic non-communicable diseases. It is crucial for major companies in the food industry, science, and the government to jointly create a healthy food market and join forces to reduce the spread of socially significant diseases. Such collaboration should result in the creation of mechanisms to stimulate the development of innovative products, tools to make balanced diets more accessible and monitor the quality and safety of food in all price categories, as well as programmes that help increase public awareness about ways to preserve people’s health, develop healthy eating habits, and boost consumer demand for healthy food.

The session participants will discuss how modern science defines healthy food and a balanced diet, what innovations in the food industry aim to provide people with high-quality, nutritious, and healthy products, what forms and methods of interaction between the government, science, and business could help expand the size of the healthy food market and ensure people have access to a healthy diet, how we can promote good eating habits among the population, how food can help humans remain competitive with artificial intelligence, and whether healthy food can help enhance human resourcefulness, among other issues.