Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus

VIDEO: Gut Health Doctor’s startup puts microbiome science on the breakfast table

By Nikki Hancocks contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gut health claim, Gut health, Fibre, microbiome

A dietitian and researcher specialising in gut health has co-founded a granola brand offering an easy way to meet two crucial gut health goals – increased fibre and whole food variety.

Dr Megan Rossi, research fellow at King’s College London, founder of The Gut Health Clinic in London and author of Eat Yourself Healthy, revealed her ‘UK first’ dedicated, evidence-based gut-health food company named 'Bio&me' at Food Matters Live in London recently (November 19th).

Launching with a range of gut-health boosting granola, Rossi says each bowl offers at least 15 different plant-based ingredients, no added sugar, 12g of protein and 14g of fibre.

Named one of the ‘coolest’ people in food and drink (Business Insider), Dr Rossi’s gut health focused PhD from The University of Queensland, Australia, was recognised for its contribution to science receiving the Dean’s Award for outstanding research. 

Bio&Me, Dr Megan Rossi (3)
Dr Megan Rossi

The granola range is her first ‘exciting’ venture into the world of food and drink as she strives to be the inspiration for more food and drink innovations stemming from clinical trials

Speaking to NutraIngredients at the show, she said: “We are the UK’s first to be able to make a gut health claim with the EFSA approval and we’ve done that with a specific ingredient we’ve used in clinical trials at King’s.

“Also, in each bowl you’ve got 15 different types of plant-based ingredients. What we’re seeing is, for optimum gut health, we need to feed the gut a wide variety of plant-based foods to get some of those different types of fibres and other phytochemicals like polyphenols and phytochemicals.”

Speaking about the huge range of new products popping up at the show also claiming to offer a gut health benefit, the gut health doctor said she was pleased to see such a booming interest in the subject but hoped to see a closer working relationship between brands, manufacturers and scientists.

“I think it’s really an exciting time. We are starting to appreciate thanks to the science that actually nurturing these trillions of microbes in our gut really can have a huge impact on our health and happiness and how we can look after them and essentially diet is one of those key ways so I think there is so much promise and potential, I think that’s a positive," ​she said.

“The down side, which is why I got into the food industry, is that often there is a huge gap between the food industry and scientists. I see a lot of the evidence is not always translated into products and I think that is a real missed opportunity to make the most of this new exciting area of research.

 “I hope to see more scholars and scientists getting into the industry. If we want to make the most out of people’s gut health there has to be that translation into convenience food.

“I think gone are the days that scientists stay in their ivory tower of research and the food industry all the manufacturing. There has to be that merge if we are really going to have an impact on people’s health.”

Speaking about where other food and drink brands with gut health claims could work to improve their health impact, Dr Rossi said more clinical research is needed to ensure products do what they say on the tin.

“One of the biggest things is not to add too many unnecessary things like additives and emulsifiers and trying to get in that diversity. A lot of companies might just add some live cultures into their product but there won’t be any scientific evidence to show that culture has an impact on health.”

The four-strong granola range includes: Apple & Cinnamon, Raspberry & Beetroot, Cocoa & Coconut and Super Seedy & Nutty (rsp: £3.99/360g)

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