Editor's Spotlight: Nutra News Review

LISTEN NOW: Infant formula sponsorship, microbiome opportunities, Nestlé's new R&D centre ... and gut bacteria protect against food allergy - The Nutra News Review

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

It's not easy to keep up with the fast pace of the news, but the weekly Nutra News Review is your best shot. Our editors run down their weekly news highlights - giving you the inside track on the top news and analysis from the last seven days.

Listen to Nikki Cutler, Will Chu, and Nathan Gray rundown their highlights of the week's news...

Nestlé’s Irish research centre

Nestlé announced its new Limerick-based €27m manufacturing facility would focus on developing milk-based maternal and infant nutrition products for the global market.

It marks the culmination of a three-year building project and comes as Nestlé looks to reorganise its infant nutrition unit to compete with regional rivals and boost sales.

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Nestlé is in the process of altering its infant nutrition business to better respond to changing local consumer preferences, evolving regulation, and demand for tailor-made solutions.

The infant nutrition arena is crucial for Nestle and Danone, which judge its baby unit as its most profitable. In an effort to keep pace, Reckitt Benckiser recently purchased Mead Johnson, makers of infant formula Enfamil. Read more​.

College under pressure to ditch sponsorship

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has been condemned for accepting sponsorship from Abbot Nutrition, Nestlé and Danone for a conference planned for the Middle East and North Africa.

The college later stated that Abbott Nutrition had not completed their due diligence process, and would not be present at the Conference. ​ The inclusion of the Abbott logo on the conference website was deemed an error and had been corrected.​

Speaking in December last year, the college responded in the British Medical Journal about its relationship with infant formula firms.

In reference to education and research projects, the college refereed to its policy that there was no involvement by the donor in topic selection, speaker choice, programme content, or fund spending.

The college said it consulted members in 2016 with the majority comfortable with accepting funding and allowing them to advertise at conferences and events but only with a set of safeguards in place. Read more​.

Microbiome linked to food allergy

New research has linked the make-up of our gut bacteria to food allergy. The study reported that gut microbes that were taken from samples of from healthy infants could block the development of milk allergy in germ free mice.

The scientists behind the study took microbiome samples from a number of infants - some of which were healthy and some of which were allergic to milk - and transplanted that bacteria into mice bred without any microbiome of their own. 

Mice that received bacteria from allergic infants suffered from anaphylaxis when they were given cow’s milk, as did mice given germ-free mice who were not given any bacteria (control group). However, those that received healthy bacteria were reported to be protected, and did not suffer any allergic reaction.

The team behind the research identified a specific bacterial species that is part of the Clostridia​ class of bacteria, which seemed to be responsible for the protective effect. Read more​.

Vitamin D sales soar

New research from Mintel gives an overview of Britain’s favourite supplements. The report shows that sales of vitamin D rose by 7% last year which saw it replace vitamin C as Britain’s most popular single vitamin supplement.

The report also shows that cod liver oil is still the nation’s number one supplement, taken by nearly 40% of all vitamin, mineral and supplement users.

Calcium and iron, which have also both enjoyed decent sales growth, come in second and third place, which Mintel suggests could be due to the trend for cutting dairy and meat out of diets. Read more​.

Microbiome - aligning science and product development 

Harini Venkataraman, food, health and wellness analyst from Lux Research, in Amsterdam, has given us a preview of the presentation she will give at our Probiota event in Copenhagen next month.

She will discuss the emerging business opportunities in the field of gut health as she says that industry players from different areas of the value chain are trying to find legitimate opportunities in this space.

Venkataraman says while research has also exploded, developers have barely scratched the surface when it comes to aligning science and product development. Read more​.

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