"One of the key competencies of ITMO University is refrigeration and  biotechnologies," said Daria Kozlova, Vice-Rector for International Relations, in her welcome speech. "So it makes sense for us to host this event for the second time at a beautiful location downtown and discuss one of components of happiness - health." 

Over 50% of St. Petersburg dwellers are overweight, with most of them being seniors as it's harder for them to change eating habits and to exercise. Another problem is that it’s hard for many to have lunch and even dinner at a scheduled time. Breakfasts on the run also have a negative impact, according to Larisa Moseichuk, industry expert.

Sugars, transfats and meat are still popular while fruits and vegetables tend to take the back seat. Studies also show that people without higher education tend to consume more fatty desserts, potatoes and pasta. Specialists suggest a hearty breakfast with cereal or omelets, lean meats and salads for lunch, and no popcorn at the movie theater.

As part of the forum, the participants presented their take on healthy nutrition with ambitious and scrumptious projects. Ekaterina Kurganova offered a new kind of sorbet with probiotics, while Ludmila Silantjeva and her team at the Applied Biotechnologies Chair presented a soft cheese with oats that’s easy to digest and packed with fiber. A total hit was Russian-style Guinness by Christian Pogan, who combined chocolate and caramel malt, along with some secret ingredients, for a unique taste. The brewer is planning to launch his product for the 25 - 45 year-old market category.

Each culture has a unique understanding of healthy nutrition, according to Jose Arellanes, Head of ITMO University’s International Students Council.

“In one of the forum’s competitions our international students are presenting their national dishes,” he said. “In Mexico, for example, chili peppers are considered the key to health.”

While it’s hard to argue about tastes, the prizes still had to be awarded. The winners in their categories were Manizha Kasimov for fermented milk drink with added herbal extracts, Catherine Kurganova for kiwi sorbet, Maria Alexeeva for wheat kvass (soft drink), Margarita Zadorozhna for musli bars, Nikolai Veselenko for spinach-dough ravioli, and Daria Nikolaeva for her cranberry dry yeast bread .