The multiple burdens of malnutrition consist of malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity. Different forms of malnutrition can co-exist within the same country, the same household and even the same individual during their life course (FAO, 2017a). The 2017 Global Nutrition Report shows that 88 percent of countries are reeling from two or three forms of malnutrition, and that, despite good progress in some countries, the world is off track to reduce and reverse this trend (Development Initiatives, 2017a). In 2017, 821 million people globally were estimated to be undernourished, and nearly 151 million and over 50 million children under five years of age stunted and wasted, respectively (FAO et al., 2018). Meanwhile, overweight, obesity and diet related non-communicable diseases are increasing worldwide in all population groups. Almost two-thirds of the world’s obese people now live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (Greenberg and Deckelbaum, 2016). The prevalence of overweight and obesity is rising in all regions and population groups in the world, contributing to the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are currently the leading causes of death worldwide (Box 1). No country to date has successfully managed to reverse the rise in obesity prevalence once it develops, and no real national success stories have been reported in the past 30 years (Ng et al., 2014). At the same time, stunting prevalence is decreasing but far too slowly. NCDs (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) are largely caused by preventable risk factors such as unhealthy diet, tobacco use, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol (WHO, 2018a).
Increased production of processed food, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns (WHO, 2018c). Since the 1990s, globally there has been a profound decrease in trans-fats, and the consumption of processed foods, often energy-dense and high in fat, sugar and/or salt (e.g. sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meat) has increased relative to the consumption of nutritious foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grain, seafood) although different increases have been noted across regions (GLOPAN, 2016). Globally dietary patterns have changed from diets rich in legumes, vegetables and coarse grains to diets with high intakes of refined carbohydrates, added sugars, fats, and animal-source foods even in LMICs (Imamura et al., 2015; FAO, 2017a). The shift is commonly seen as a country’s economic conditions improve and the urban population increases, and is generally accompanied by more sedentary lifestyles. As consumers shift towards lifestyles with less time available for food preparation, the demand for processed food has grown. At the same time, globalization and trade liberalization have increased the presence of processed foods in LMICs, and both of these factors have changed the nature of and demands on food systems. Data available for LMICs document this trend in all urban areas and increasingly in rural areas (Popkin et al., 2012).
The “BioNord” is a regional trade fair for organic retailers and has been established nationwide together with the sister fairs “BioOst”, “BioSüd” and “BioWest” as a forum and meeting place for the health food industry. It goes back to the 10th anniversary of the fresh wholesaler Naturkost Nord, which opened with this event not only the gates for their own customers and suppliers but for all industry players. The response was so enormous that the organizer developed a separate unique exhibition concept. Now the BioNord takes place once a year in Hanover and will be open to trade visitors only. The fair offers the quality-oriented organic trade an independent platform and has been extended to the areas of health food stores and organic cuisine. Also, associations, journalists and politicians will find a forum to exchange ideas and information and to actively shape the future of the organic sector.
Despite this dynamic relationship between food systems and diets, agriculture, food and dietary policies are rarely designed in concert. Agricultural production policies do not typically incorporate a nutrition perspective – for example, how production of one crop over another could affect the nutritional status of the population. Likewise, nutrition policies typically do not incorporate the status and potential limitations of the food system – for example, recommending populations to eat daily at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) without considering if the food system will provide that quantity of fruits and vegetables at an affordable price to the entire population (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2015). A food systems approach to healthy diets aims to make these interlinkages explicit in policy development and implementation (FAO, 2013b).
The four BioMessen are an independent offer platform that brings together nationwide and regional players in the German organic sector. They perform another important function as a continuous communication forum for all bio-active people who want to shape the future sustainably through their actions.
The BioMessen is aimed exclusively at trade visitors, including from natural food and health food retailers, organic supermarkets, independent food retailers, specialty retailers, restaurants and bulk consumers. The exhibitors are the nationwide suppliers of organic food retailers, the corresponding wholesalers and regional suppliers. The cultivation associations of organic farming (including organic land, organic district, Demeter, Naturland) present themselves on numerous communal areas with numerous sub-exhibitors. Offers from the health food sector are bundled on the special area ReformWelt under the patronage of the Reformhaus eG.
All products exhibited at the BioMessen are subject to clear criteria and certification requirements. These are based on the range guidelines of the Federal Association for Natural Food Natural Products BNN eV, which is also the patron of the event. All four BioMesse are climate neutral. The organizers are treading new paths in compensation: The emissions caused by the operation of the exhibition halls, the arrival and departure of visitors, etc. are compensated for by the build-up of humus on organic farms in Germany.
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