In this episode of Nutrition Asia, we find out how today’s infant formula industry has been shaped by a combination of consumers’ demands and innovation around new ingredients.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a heightened demand for infant formula containing lactoferrin and other immune-enhancing ingredients.
This is according to Jane Li, the co-founder of infant formula company Biopure Health, which was sold to the Ausnutria Group in 2017.
She is currently the co-founder of China-based dairy chain store New Zealand Milk Bar and an independent consultant providing insights on China’s infant formula industry to government agencies and financial institutions.
“Lactoferrin was popular around two years ago and was being pushed into the market. And then COVID-19 happened and fuelled the demand for lactoferrin because it has certain immune-boosting properties,” she said.
Against the backdrop, she said that there were some Australian and New Zealand infant formula firms which had developed new formulas containing immunoglobulin G (IgG) for the China market.
She added that the “must-have” ingredients nowadays included pre/probiotics and DHA.
However, because they are commonly found in infant formula, they are no longer the ones “making the difference”, and firms will need to continue with new ingredient innovation to achieve a breakthrough.
On the other hand, Nutura, an Australian-based infant and toddler formula brand which made its debut last year, said its focus was on sugar-free, pre/probiotics for digestive health, lutein for eye and brain health, as well as a non-GMO milk base.
Kelvin Choo, sales manager at U Care Products – the distributor of Nutura in Singapore and Malaysia – said the manufacturer had spent three years developing the products.
As a relatively small and new regional player, he said the priority was to focus on their target consumer – babies with digestive health problems.
Moving forward, there are plans to develop organic infant formula and targeting consumer markets with a different purchasing power.
Watch to find out more.