Case Study

FrieslandCampina DOMO poised for infant formula breakthrough

28 Mar 2018

FrieslandCampina DOMO plans to launch its next generation oligosaccharides for infant formula by the end of the year, produced through fermentation to create compounds that are structurally identical to those found in human breast milk.

FrieslandCampina DOMO poised for infant formula breakthrough
Oligosaccharides are non-digestible carbohydrates, classified as prebiotics

Oligosaccharides are non-digestible carbohydrates and thereby classified as prebiotics, meaning they feed the healthy bacteria in the gut, and they are also thought to have a positive effect on the immune system (1). Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are the third most prevalent solid component in breast milk after lactose and fat, and more than 200 different varieties have been identified.

“We are always looking for possibilities to improve infant milk formula,” said marketing communications manager at FrieslandCampina DOMO, Yolanda Roescher.

FrieslandCampina DOMO produces ingredients for the infant nutrition industry worldwide, and has more than 75 years’ experience in infant formula. The company stresses that breast milk is always the best nutrition for infants, but for when it is not possible to feed a baby breast milk, it aims to produce the highest quality dairy-derived ingredients for infant formula.

“What has changed in the last decade is the science, which suggest a large impact of early nutrition on healthy development of infants,” Roescher said. “Next to our focus on the quality and quantity of macronutrients in infant nutrition, we also investigate specific bioactive components that are expected to be beneficial for the baby.”

The next generation

FrieslandCampina Domo first introduced its galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) ingredient for infant formula under its Vivinal brand in 1999, when technology to produce HMOs was still under development. GOS has been shown to support the growth of healthy bacteria, which help suppress the proliferation of harmful bacteria and maintain a healthy digestive system. “(2,3)

Over 120 million babies have already been nourished with our GOS,” she said. “It has become a more or less standard ingredient in infant formula. Next to GOS, we think that the next generation will be the HMOs.”

Roescher added that both GOS and HMOs have been linked to health benefits. “We expect that the HMOs can additionally contribute to a healthy gut microbiome and to reduction of the risk of infections.”(4)

Quality assurance

In addition to its oligosaccharides, the company also produces most other ingredients for infant formula production, including whey proteins, milk proteins, lactose, nutritional lipids, hydrolysates and lactoferrin. As a cooperative, all the milk comes from the company’s own member farmers, meaning it can monitor the quality of its ingredients throughout the supply chain “from cow to can”, as Roescher says.

“Our ingredients are for one of the most vulnerable members of our society – babies – so we take their production really very seriously,” she said.

Alongside rapidly changing global regulations and improvements in our understanding of how infant formula affects babies’ health, Roescher says better access to information has also affected demand.

“Parents have always wanted the very best nutrition for their children – but in the era of digital information, now they are able to look beyond the package and inform themselves where and how it is produced as well as which beneficial ingredients are being used,” she said.

(1)Vandenplas et al., 2015

(2)Scholtens et al., 2008

(3)Costalos et al., 2008

(4)Bode, 2012

This information is intended for industrial customers only

Potential consumer benefits are not to be considered as health claims. They should be considered as potential leads that might be developed into health claims complying with the local legal requirements.

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