Hydrolysates, produced by enzymatic hydrolysis of milk proteins, are designed to target allergies and reduce gastrointestinal discomfort. They also facilitate protein digestion and absorption and increase plasma amino acid availability.
Arla Foods Ingredients launched Peptigen for infant and follow-on formula in the late 90s but in February 2022, the EU introduced new regulations requiring evaluation of the safety and suitability of all protein hydrolysates used in formulas.
Shortly afterwards, Peptigen IF-3080 was one of only a few milk protein hydrolysate ingredients to receive a positive opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Arla was able to continue to supply EU customers for the development of new infant formula brands.
Finally, this month, the product was included in the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/7 – the final step necessary for it to be used in infant and follow-on formulas sold across the EU.
Anne Staudt Kvistgaard, Head of Paediatric Nutrition Science, Arla Foods Ingredients, said: We’re absolutely delighted that Peptigen IF-3080 has received final approval. It’s a decision that widens the range of hydrolysates that can be used for the development of infant formula targeting special needs. It’s also a clear indication to our customers that they can trust our commitment to the highest possible standards.
At the same time, the firm’s bovine milk osteopontin ingredient, branded 'Lacprodan OPN-10', has been approved as a novel food, making it the firm’s first product for infant nutrition approved under the new Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283.
Osteopontin is a whey protein, which is a heavily phosphorylated, acidic glycoprotein with strong calcium-binding properties.
Significant amounts of this protein have been identified in human milk, while smaller quantities are present in bovine milk.
This means that – to date – infant formulas have had lower osteopontin content than human breast milk.
Staudt Kvistgaard discusses the importance of these ingredients, saying: "Parents shopping for formula are increasingly scientifically aware, and actively looking for products containing specific ingredients, including protein hydrolysates. Additionally, other purchase drivers – organic, non-GMO and sustainably produced claims for example – are important to a growing number of consumers (Trends in Infant Milk, Innova Market Insights, 2021). So the range of market needs that formula manufacturers have to meet is increasing, and it’s never been more important to be able to offer a choice of high-quality products.
"In terms of production, a big game-changer for us has been the recent development of our milk fractionation technology, ORIGIN by Arla Foods Ingredients, which allows us to extract proteins, lactose and milk fat directly from fresh milk using filtration technology. This enables to create customized organic infant formula, with private label options available both as finished formulas and base powders."