The $11.5 billion global infant formula category is set for its biggest innovation push in years following the launch of a radical new “Staging” concept by Arla Foods Ingredients.
Built around Arla Foods Ingredients’ Lacprodan® portfolio of protein ingredients, Staging is an improved approach to infant formula designed to reflect the fact that the composition of breast milk changes significantly during lactation.
At present, formula-fed babies’ diets do not take account of this, and they are usually given a “static” diet during their first six months. However, Arla Foods Ingredients has identified that the protein content of breast milk is dynamic and changes constantly during this period.
In response, the Denmark-based company has developed blends of specialized milk protein fractions that will help manufacturers create formulas that mimic the changing nutritional profile of milk more closely during this short—but critical—time in a baby’s development.
Arla Foods Ingredients is launching the new Staging concept for the first time at the annual meeting of ESPGHAN—the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition—in London on May 8.
Pernille Hostrup, business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “Our new Staging approach means infant formulas can provide the right nutrients in the right quantities at the right time, to suit precisely a baby’s natural growth and development patterns during its first months of life. Human milk will always be the gold-standard for infant nutrition, but staging means formula-fed infants can now enjoy more of the long-term health benefits experienced by their breast-fed counterparts.”
At the heart of the Staging concept is a range of Lacprodan milk protein fractions developed by Arla Foods Ingredients, which can be blended in varying proportions to create staged infant formulas that mimic the nutritional profile of breast milk more closely.
Extracted from high quality whey proteins, Lacprodan ingredients provide the ideal amino acid profile to meet the needs of developing infants. This means formula manufacturers can reduce the overall quantity of protein in their products to levels closer to those found in breast milk, but still provide all the nutrients formula-fed infants need to develop healthily and grow at a similar rate to breast-fed infants.
Pernille Hostrup said: “Traditionally, infant formulas for new-born babies have been much higher in protein than breast milk actually is, which means formula-fed babies typically ingest between 50 percent and 80 percent more protein than breast-fed infants. This often results in more rapid growth in bottle-fed babies and there is strong scientific evidence that this can lead to obesity and other health concerns in later life. But by adding the right blend of our Lacprodan proteins to a basic formula recipe, manufacturers can now develop age-specific formula products that deliver the correct levels of nutrients to meet a growing infant’s true needs.”