Nestle broadens infant nutrition approach

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Infant nutrition, Nutrition

Nestlé has said it will invest €25m in the production of a new line
of baby food - a move which will help the food giant corner the
lucrative infant nutrition market.

The firm has given little away about the new line, which will come under the name NatureNes. A spokesperson told NutraIngredients.com that the food will be aimed at infants over the age of four months. Infant nutrition is a hot topic as companies are competing to provide suitable foods for children which best replicate the healthy profile of breast milk. On the other side of the fence, pressure groups have remained critical of companies' marketing techniques. Nestlé has said that the food will be 100 per cent natural without added salt, sugar or starch. A spokesperson added that the technology being used to make it will "perfectly preserve the taste of the ingredients and their nutritional quality."​ The move also taps into consumer demand for natural products. There has been an explosion of products claiming to be natural over the last few years. According to analysts at Mintel, In Europe, 878 'All Natural' food products and 509 beverage products were launched last year. The firm has not provided further details of other additional nutritional components of the product, or when it is likely to hit supermarket shelves. It will be produced a t the French facility in Epinal, and will also mean the creation of 25 extra jobs. Healthy ​The market for formula milk is worth some €597m and increasingly companies are using new functional ingredients to boost the healthy profile of the products. Germany's Hipp GmbH & Co Vertrieb KG, for example, have used probiotic bacteria in certain baby food products marketed in Europe. Others are adding omega-3 fatty acids, and prebiotics. Infant formula companies say the aim is to give babies that are not breastfed the best possible nutrition at the start of their lives. Battle​ Proposed European regulation covering the advertisement of infant nutrition is being contested in the High Court in the UK. The Infant and Dietetic Foods Association (IDFA) has successfully called for a suspension of the rules, which were due to come into force last month. It claimed the industry was not given enough time to comply with the new rules. A High Court judge is expected to look at the case this month.

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