The Netherlands-based company that specialises in proteins and prebiotics is launching a global cross-category portfolio of early life nutrition (ELN) solutions specifically designed for children over the age of three, as the industry actively seeks new avenues for growth.
As Timo Faber, global marketing lead of early life nutrition at FrieslandCampina Ingredients explains, the global infant milk formula market has been changing, marked by a decline in the number of newborns and a drop in sales in the regular infant milk formula sector.
However, there is a growing focus on ensuring that young children worldwide receive the nutrition they need well beyond their first years, as Faber explains: “We have learned that parental worries about a child's health don't stop at the age of three. They keep on looking for nutritional solutions to further support the health and development of their children.”
According to a global consumer study on Early Life Nutrition by Innova Market Insights and FrieslandCampina Ingredients from 2020, 59% of parents stated that they were most concerned about the growth and development of their children between one and five years.
Faber adds that this move into the three-12 age category makes sense for the company and the ELN industry as a whole, noting: “Comparing zero to three years versus three to 12 years in itself is already a much larger consumer base.”
He notes that predictions are that by 2030, milk formula for children aged over three, fortified dairy drinks, and supplement formats like gummies will surge in popularity, making child nutrition a pivotal growth category for functional ingredients.
The Step Up Nutrition portfolio
Step Up Nutrition emphasises five key areas of child development and has been launched with application suggestions that demonstrate how each area could be articulated.
‘Beat the Bugs,’ designed to contribute to a healthy immune system, has been depicted by a yoghurt drink enriched with ‘Vivinal MFGM’ (milk fat globule membrane). Vivinal MFGM is a whey protein concentrate that contains bioactive proteins and lipids, bolstering immune development and function.
A milk drink illustrated as ‘Smarty Pants,’ features the company’s newly launched fungi-oil based ingredient Vana-Sana DHA Algae 20L, to support cognitive development. DHA Algae, a micro-encapsulated long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid oil, has been shown to play a crucial role in cognitive function.
‘Happy Tummy’ has been exemplified by a milk drink fortified with the supplier’s trademark ‘Vivinal GOS’ prebiotic ingredient, and ‘Aequival 2’-FL’ for gut microbiota composition. Vivinal GOS and Aequival 2’-FL are non-digestible oligosaccharides that stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, while GOS alone aids in micronutrient absorption and potentially supports mental health through the gut-brain axis.
‘Big & Strong’ has been illustrated by a powdered milk drink also fortified with ‘Vivinal GOS’, aiming to promote micronutrient uptake, and mental health support, addressed by the ‘Cool & Calm’ proposition, included gummies also infused with Vivinal GOS.