After hosting many microbiome health seminars and workshops through her gut health education business Synbiotic Kitchen and realising the huge consumer demand for microbiome health boosting products, biotech entrepreneur Aline de Santa Izabel created YOGUT ME to challenge the many so-called ‘gut-healthy’ yogurts on the market which she says are often filled with preservatives, sweeteners and sugar.
Born in Brazil, the microbiologist and bioengineer's love of microbiome modulation began after moving to Sweden 10 years ago where her career saw her developing synbiotic supplements for a Swedish startup and leading the publication of a gut health focused cookbook called ‘The Synbiotic Lifestyle Cookbook’.
“I was fascinated by the power of food and nutrition not only to promote optimal gut health but also to our overall health and wellbeing,” says Aline.
Her interest in personalised nutrition developed further while working for a digital health company on a personalised nutrition app. It was then that she decided to launch Synbiotic Kitchen as a platform to teach people what food to eat for optimum gut health.
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The idea took off.
“We’ve held about 60 workshops and lectures since we launched in March 2018, in Sweden and abroad, either at our own events or when we’ve been invited to present at other people’s events.
“It’s clear there’s a strong interest in gut health but people don’t understand whether the fermented, probiotic or prebiotic products they find in shops are really going to help their microbiome health.
“The problem with many products is that they contain preservatives, additives or sugar, or they’re pasteurised, meaning it’s unlikely the good bacteria in the product is going to have a real impact on gut health.
“When people ask us which products are best we tend to suggest that the best way to be sure if food is healthy, is to make it yourself, so you know exactly what ingredients are in it. It’s that that gave me the idea for YOGUT ME.”
Machine in the making
Aline kickstarted the development of YOGUT ME in September 2018. After creating a working prototype and rigorously testing its recipe with several top Nordic chefs, she is now working with partners at the incubation programs of the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, Antler, Plus Impact and the Product Innovation Program to perfect the offering and make it commercially viable.
To use the machine, the consumer simply needs to put their choice of milk and the pod into the machine, use the linked app to tell the machine their preferences, and leave it for 10-12 hours to create their bespoke freshly made yogurt.
The pods are sustainable and functional. They are made with the YOGUT ME proprietary blend containing high quality probiotics, prebiotics and other functional ingredients.
Aline adds: “Our focus is on the device’s ability to make really delicious functional dairy alternative products as there really aren’t many functional dairy-free yogurts on the market and many of the alternative varieties are not very tasty!
Aline says she is working towards making the product available for just 250$ and the supplement pods available for 2$ each in order to ensure the product is competitive with ready-made yogurts.
Looking to the future, Aline adds that the machine will allow the ability to create different microbiome modulating pod blends for different functions, such as brain and skin health.
Eventually she says the device could even be used to create different food products such as frozen yogurt and cream cheese.
She is also looking for more partners across Europe to help her with her venture as she can see huge potential in many countries, especially the UK.
Probiota Pioneer 2020
Aline has been chosen as a winner of NutraIngredients' Probiota Pioneers competition, meaning she will get to present her business idea to a room full of experts in the microbiome industry during Probiota 2020, taking place in Dublin in February.
There is still time to register for the three day world-leading microbiome conference which is set to see some of the leading brands, academics and innovators in the industry come together to share all the latest news, research and ideas to keep their business in the know.