The product is a vegetable fat blend specifically designed to mimic the structure of the natural fat found in human breast milk. In fact, the company markets it as "the closest match to mother's milkfat". It has long been available for use in Europe and many Asian counties, and Lipid Nutrition started the process for approval in China three years ago, considering the market there as being increasingly interesting with ample opportunities. John Kurstjens, global marketing manager, told NutraIngredients.com: "Chinese companies are looking for new ingredients to improve their infant formula products, and we have already had a lot of interest. We expect Betapol to be introduced onto the market sometime very soon this year." Chinese market Interest in the Chinese market has grown across the industry as the country experiences rapid economic growth. Kurstjens explained that demand for infant nutrition has also dramatically increased as consumers are able to spend more and it has become increasingly common for Chinese women to work. Katinka Abbenbroek, CEO at Lipid Nutrition, said: "The Chinese approval means a lot to us, as we are now the first company that can offer this unique and one-of-a-kind product in China. Fuelled by economic growth, many Chinese parents want to provide the very best for their infants." She added that about 50 per cent of Chinese babies have constipation problems, and Betapol will be able to help with this. Earlier this month, Irish dairy and ingredients group Glanbia also invested in the infant formula market in China, establishing its first plant in China, which will focus on manufacturing nutritional premixes to be used in infant formula. Betapol Betapol was developed to overcome the problems associated with poor fatty acid absorption from infant formula and the negative consequences of this on energy supply, stool consistency and bone development. Lipid Nutrition has carried out studies in animals and newborn babies that have shown all the fatty acids in Betapol - including palmitic acid - are well absorbed into the bloodstream, and only tiny quantities are lost in the faeces. This therefore improves the absorption of dietary calcium and reduces the amount of calcium lost in the stools, leading to greater bone mineral density.