• C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits.
(Image source: C-Biogenics)
    C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits. (Image source: C-Biogenics)
  • C-Biogenics co-founders Hayley Robinson and Lynsey Koch. 
(Image source: C-Biogenics)
    C-Biogenics co-founders Hayley Robinson and Lynsey Koch.  (Image source: C-Biogenics)
  • C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits.
(Image source: C-Biogenics)
    C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits. (Image source: C-Biogenics)
  • C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits.
(Image source: C-Biogenics)
    C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits. (Image source: C-Biogenics)
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Clinical nutritionists Hayley Robinson and Lynsey Koch are passionate about helping people heal. Their start-up C-Biogenics Nutrition is allowing them to do so at scale. Kim Berry writes.

C-Biogenics co-founders Hayley Robinson and Lynsey Koch. 
(Image source: C-Biogenics)
C-Biogenics co-founders Hayley Robinson and Lynsey Koch.  (Image source: C-Biogenics)

Lynsey Koch’s interest in food as medicine began with her first job working in the local health food store. It became her focus when a life-threatening accident at age 18 had her in hospital for what was expected to be at least three months.

Every day, her mum, a “hippie at heart”, brought all of Koch’s meals to the hospital including “green sludgy drinks and organic food”. Koch was discharged after three weeks.

“At that point my life basically made my career decision. I had just started an undergraduate degree in biological sciences, so I swapped to nutritional medicine and became a clinical nutritionist,” Koch says.

Clinical nutrition and nutritional medicine examine the therapeutic and biochemical aspects of foods and how they interact with the body.

Meanwhile, Hayley Robinson was finishing her nutritional medicine degree when she met Koch while completing her clinic hours at Koch’s practice.

“I always wanted to produce my own supplements and have my own supplement company.

“Working with Lynsey I witnessed her knowledge and understanding of biochemistry, and we aligned on our compassion and care for people, but I knew clinical practice wasn’t for me,” Robinson says.

The timing was perfect. Robinson with fire in her belly to build a business and Koch, after 15-plus years of clinical practice, needing a new project, the pair founded C-Biogenics Nutrition.

Koch says, “As a practitioner, you can burn out. You can’t switch off, thinking about your clients at all hours of the night. Starting C-Biogenics has been a blessing, I’ve stepped back a lot from the clinical side and regained balance.”

“We have an innate drive to help people heal and C-Biogenics allows us to do that on a scale not possible in a clinical setting. This way we can help thousands, and working towards hundreds of thousands, of people,” Robinson says.

Food for the gut

The company launched with Gut Food, a prebiotic and postbiotic formula developed to help soothe, repair, and nourish the gut while feeding the microbiome.

C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits.
(Image source: C-Biogenics)

Koch developed the functional powder over the years for her clients, using it for health conditions from pre-diabetes, hormone issues, and cholesterol problems.

“We thought, why don’t we take that recipe, and fine tune it with more nutrients for healing the epithelial cells of the gut. That was the birth of Gut Food,” Koch says.

Epithelial cells cover the whole body, line body cavities and organs, and form the main tissue in glands. They perform a range of protective, filtration, absorption and sensory receptor functions.

Robinson adds, “From Lynsey’s foundation, we added in a whole range of other ingredients and then worked on dosages, taste, and texture. To help with the epithelial tissue, we added slippery elm and marshmallow, and made sure they were at the right therapeutic dosages.”

For Robinson and Koch, their driving motivation is that every product they develop has a profound and noticeable effect. For that to occur, each recommended serve needs the right blend of ingredients for maximum efficacy. 

“There are plenty of products out there that look amazing and have a tonne of ingredients in them, but none at a therapeutic dose to make a difference.

“Our top priority is for every one of our formulas to meet the criteria it needs to be effective,” Koch says.

Soothing the brain

The adaptogenic and neurologic wholefood formula Calm Food, was developed to help the body build resilience to stress and restore a sense of calm.

“You can’t fix someone’s gut if anxiety is a key factor because it affects your nervous system, which then affects digestion. The reason we wanted to launch Calm Food and Gut Food is because the gut and the brain are a duo. If you only treat one component, you only get halfway there. To get big shifts in health, you can’t ignore either one,” Koch says.

C-Biogenics’ Gut Food and Calm Food contain therapeutic doses of functional ingredients for maximum health benefits.
(Image source: C-Biogenics)

Developing Calm Food had special relevance for Robinson who suffers from anxiety.

“I have tried various supplements, and nothing was ever as effective as I needed it to be. I realised there was no whole food formula on the market, so we got to work,” Robinson says.

Koch explains, “With Calm Food we knew we wanted a stress and anxiety formula. Coming from that clinical nutrition background we also knew there were so many variables at play when it comes to anxiety.

“We’re talking about genetics, gut health, sleep; all the aspects that surround someone’s physical health with stress and anxiety. That’s where we started. Then it was a process of, okay, these are the therapeutics, these are the herbal medicines, this is the plant, this is the food, and these are the nutrients.”

Into the mix

“We start product testing by trialling it on ourselves for three months, then we have a small trial group do the same and keep refining it until we finalise the recipe. With each new iteration we go through that process again. For Gut Food it took around twelve batches, Calm Food took a lot more,” Robinson recalls.

“We are a rogue in the food manufacturing industry because of our therapeutic standpoint. We won’t use any emulsifiers, additives, flavourings, or colourings, but then the worry creeps in around the product’s palatability and mixability. Consumers have been conditioned to expect a functional powder to dissolve or blend instantly or even taste a particular way,” Koch says.

But the pair decided to “own it”, choosing to not compromise on the ingredients’ efficacy while also ensuring the products taste delicious.

“We are constantly working on the products, educating our customers that the reason it needs twenty seconds to mix is because of its authenticity and lack of additives, and that it is a functional food,” Robinson says.

Koch and Robinson are currently manufacturing the products in-house, a conscious choice to maintain high and tight quality controls.

“We are using the highest quality ingredients we can source to create a premium effective health product.

“By making it ourselves we know everything has been stored and blended correctly. That said, our pace of growth means we are having to revisit that, it is getting very busy! It is a nice problem to have,” Robinson says.

They also try to source local ingredients where possible.

“We make every effort to source from our region here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

“If we can’t do that then we will source the highest, best quality Australian product. We also use a local company for freeze drying our ingredients,” Robinson says.

While their focus may be local for ingredients, the pair are focused on growing distribution nationwide. Currently stocked in health food stores in Queensland, and available on the C-Biogenics website, Koch and Robinson are actively looking for broader distribution channels and partners.

With their third product set for release early next year and about eight more in the pipeline, C-Biogenics is on the rise.

 

This story first appeared in our July issue of Food & Drink Business magazine. 

 

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