Abbott launches infant formula with immune component

10 Dec 2020

Infant nutrition company Abbott Nutrition launched its new Similac line Pro-Advance which is its “closest formulation to breast milk” and includes added 2’-FL HMO prebiotic for infant immune support. The company is launching this product in Canada where it will be available at major retailers.

Following 15 years of research, the company was able to scientifically replicate the immune component of human milk – oligosaccharide (HMO) 2'-Fucosyllactose – making it the first product in Canada with the ingredient in an infant formula. HMOs are the third most common component of breast milk following fat and carbohydrates known as lactose.

Abbott launches infant formula with immune component

Abbott found that 2’-FL is the most abundant HMO in mothers’ breast milk and that this HMO is critical to a baby’s digestive health and immunity. Other studies also support this finding. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that babies that were fed with breast milk, as opposed to formula, had fewer gaps in immunity. When formula diets were supplemented with 2’-FL the gaps in nutritional deficiencies lessened and the nutritional levels of babies receiving supplements were more similar to those infants in the control group that was breastfed.

“At Abbott we know that breast milk provides protective components a baby needs to thrive,” said Rachael Buck, a research fellow at Abbott in a statement. “We wanted to replicate 2’-FL found in breast milk so that more babies could possibly benefit.”

With many babies worldwide relying on formula, parents are becoming more attuned to providing better-for-you products to their children right out of the cradle. As a result, nutritional advances in infant formulas has become a hot market in recent years. Pre- and probiotics have been moving into the infant formula space over the last several years with brands like DuPont Nutrition & Health as well as Nestlé introducing the good-for-you bacteria into formulas aimed at replicating human breast milk.

With studies showing that probiotics can influence everything from obesity and digestive issues to food allergies and even cancer, the market for the gut bacteria has grown exponentially. Grand View Research estimates the size of the global probiotics market at $51.12 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 54.21 billion in 2020.

Abbott is tapping into that growing market with this new infant formula, and parents are likely to invest in this product as they look to start their children off on the right foot.

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