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Microbiome Diets: The Latest Startup Craze (and the Opportunity for Food and Beverage Business Owners)

There’s a new diet craze taking the wellness industry by storm—microbiome diets!

For decades, people have searched for diets that could help them lose weight and feel good. Over the years, many fad diets have come and gone, from low-calorie to low-carb to intermittent fasting and everything in between. 

But microbiome diets take a different approach. These diets are based on the microorganisms inside the gut. 

Microbiome diets are skyrocketing in popularity. And that rise brings new opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses to take advantage of the trend and position themselves in a growing niche!

Read on to find out how microbiome diets are changing the landscape of the weight loss world and how startups are leaning into the trend.

What are Microbiome Diets? 

Created by Dr. Raphael Kellman, the microbiome diet unfolds in three phases. In the first phase, the goal is to restabilize the gut and repair existing damage. Dieters are encouraged to avoid triggering foods, like gluten, dairy, and animal protein. They are also urged to eat plenty of probiotics, prebiotics, and healthy fats. 

After completing the first phase, dieters expand their diets to include whole grains, beans, fruit, and eggs. 

In the final phase, dieters maintain their healthy diets with a healthy balance of gut-friendly foods. 

Proponents of the diet say it helps with weight loss and reduces inflammation and gut discomfort. It even has the potential to boost the immune system and protect against long-term illnesses, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. 

The Microbiome Diet Difference

Microbiome diets aren’t like traditional fad diets. Unlike those diets, they aren’t based on restriction.

In fact, Dr. Kellman advises against calorie counting or tracking specific amounts of food. Instead, the diet is designed to give you guidelines on foods that can inflame and irritate your body. With that knowledge, you can make informed nutrition decisions. 

The microbiome diet promotes intuition and informed eating over restriction. 

How Startups Have Individualized the Microbiome Diet

While many dieters have found success by following the diet itself, some startup companies have found a way to make the diet even more effective. 

Companies like Zoe, Viome, Biomes, and Day Two have home kits that monitor individual microbiomes. When you start with these programs, you provide blood and stool samples. 

Based on the results, you will then receive personalized advice on diet, foods to avoid or limit, and supplements. 

This is where the real opportunity in microbiome diets lies—the chance to break out of the cookie cutter diets in favor of something catered specifically to individual biology. 

Beyond the Diet

Startups in the microbiome space have found success with personalized diet and nutrition plans. But the possibilities for startups go well beyond those programs. 

Other companies have taken microbiome research and gone in a different direction. 

Seres Therapeutics is a team of drug development experts and microbiome experts dedicated to creating microbiome-based solutions to diseases and medical conditions. They are currently pioneering a product to improve gut health following antibiotic treatments.

In August of 2020, Seres announced the completion of a successful phase 3 trial for the product, leading their shares to rise by 460%. The company’s other products in development include treatments for ulcerative colitis and antibiotic-resistant infections. 

Vedanta Biosciences is another company developing medications and treatments based on bacteria in the human intestine. In July of 2021, they landed $68 million dollars in seed money. 

There are other companies creating supplements and treatments in the industry. Microbiome Labs has created a line of supplements aligned with the microbiome diet philosophies, including a probiotic to restore gut flora and a supplement to aid in gluten digestion. 

The company also recently unveiled GoodBiome Foods, an innovative probiotic and prebiotic infused food line. 

The Future of Microbiome Startups

Investors are taking note of the growing popularity and increasing research on the microbiome. As a result, startups in the industry have acquired major seed money and press attention and launched successfully. 

But there is more than enough room for other companies to step in on the ground level. 

The possibility of individualizing diet plans and supplements offers a way for companies to distinguish themselves and carve out niches in the industry. 

From personalized diet programs to supplements created for individual microbiome needs to food products aligned with microbiome diets, the possibilities are endless. 

As business owners in the food and beverage industry, it’s time to take note of the microbiome craze and figure out where to jump in!

If you’re running a food or supplement business and looking for more tips on how to set your brand apart and reach more customers, be sure to catch our post on creating a brand story for your product business!

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