Complementary feeding

Complementary feeding with whey ingredients for healthy development
When breast milk is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of babies, complementary foods should be added to their diet. The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to family foods, referred to as complementary feeding, typically covers the period from 4-6 to 18-24 months of age1,2.

The number of complementary food product launches* has increased rapidly in the period 2010-2016, hitting 37% compound annual growth (CAGR)3. Infant formula manufacturers and food companies are launching more and more complementary food products due to the growing awareness of the importance of this stage for the healthy development of the baby. Differentiation is key in this fast-moving market, where there are excellent opportunities for launching products with added nutritional value.

Nutrient-rich complementary foods can help fill the gap between highly nutritional breast milk and “regular” foods. Arla Foods Ingredients supplies premium-quality whey ingredients that can be added to complementary foods to improve its nutritional profile for optimum support of the baby’s development.

Arla Foods Ingredients’ product suggestions for nutrient-rich complementary foods.

Application experts at Arla Foods Ingredients have created a range of products to inspire infant formula manufacturers and food companies to go to market with highly nutritious complementary foods. While the product formats are already in the market, our highly nutritional product variations would be an innovation on the complementary food shelf. For example, we have developed a smoothie with added high quality proteins coming from alpha-lactalbumin to support healthy growth. We have also developed a delicious oat porridge with a smooth texture in which we have added whey protein hydrolysates to promote baby’s comfort. These are just two examples of types of complementary foods, meeting both the sensory and dietary requirements, that infant formula manufacturers and food companies can launch with the support of our experts.

Our recommended ingredients for nutrient-rich complementary foods are:

  • Alpha-lactalbumin is the most abundant protein in human milk and has been demonstrated to support several areas in early nutrition. Lacprodan® ALPHA-10 has a high content of alpha-lactalbumin, which is rich in essential amino acids. When supplemented to infant formula, alpha-lactalbumin has been demonstrated to support healthy growth4, enhanced protection5,6healthy gut5,6 and comfort7 in clinical and preclinical studies.
  • Whey protein hydrolysates (pre-digested proteins) like Lacprodan® DI-3071, are easily digestible whey proteins suitable for the baby’s gastrointestinal system, which is not yet fully matured, hence supporting baby´s comfort. Also, complementary foods containing hydrolysates like Peptigen® IF-3080, can prolong the period of hydrolysate intake by the baby, which has been demonstrated to reduce the allergic potential of the proteins. Peptigen® IF-3080 provides similar atopic levels to breastfeeding when administrated in infant formula8,9.
  • Calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg) are all essential nutrients for healthy bone and teeth development. Capolac® is a milk mineral with a high content of milk calcium (> 24%), min 10% phosphorus and min 0.7% magnesium. Capolac® has an optimal Ca:P ratio important for calcium absorption, and the calcium phosphate structure is similar to that of bone and teeth10. Capolac® is shown to cause a long-standing increase in bone mass accrual in pre-pubertal girls11,12.
  • Whey protein is a composite protein source with a high protein quality. Lacprodan® whey protein concentrates are rich in essential amino acids supporting healthy growth of the baby. Arla Foods Ingredients has a large portfolio of WPCs and WPIs with a range of protein concentrations and lactose levels.

Related products:

Lacprodan®ALPHA-10, Lacprodan® DI-3071, Peptigen® IF-3080, Capolac® and Lacprodan® whey protein concentrate

Arla Foods Ingredients supports the WHO recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two or beyond in combination with nutritionally appropriate complementary foods.

External links:
WHO Complementary feeding.

*The product launches have been extracted from the search results of Innova Database for the Baby Cereals & Biscuits, Baby Drinks and Baby Meals categories, and then adjusted to exclude products specifically targeting toddlers.

2. Fewtrell et al. 2017. JPGN. 64, 119-132
3. Innova Market Insights, 2017
4. Sandström et al. 2008. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 87, 921–928
5. Brück et al. 2003. J. Pediatr. Gastr. Nutr. 37, 273–80
6. Brück et al. 2006. FEMS. Microbiol. Lett. 259, 158–62.
7. Dupont et al. 2010. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 64, 765–767 
8. Nentwich et al. 2003. Klin. Pediatr. 215, 275-279
9. Nentwich et al. 2009. Klin. Pediatr. 221, 78-82
10. Trinkunaite-Felsen et al. 2012. Chemija. 23, 76–85
11 Bonjour et al. 1997. J. Clin. Invest. 99: 1287-1294
12. Bonjour et al. 2001. Lancet. 358: 1208-1212

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