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Danone considers partnership with plant-based formula company Else Nutrition

Danone considers partnership with plant-based formula company Else Nutrition alternative proteins, business, dairy, Danone, Fats & oils, Flavours and colours, food safety, Infant nutrition, plant-based, Proteins, Reformulation, Start-ups and disruptors, Sustainability, toddler formula Food and Beverage Business

In the food and beverage industry, the kids formula market has long been dominated by bovine formula, with over 90% of the industry relying on cow’s milk as its primary ingredient. The remaining 10% is made up of formula based on soy and rice. This is reflected in the size of the global cow milk infant formula. Valued at $21.5bn in 2021, it is forecast to reach $26.9bn by 2028, according to Business Research Insights.

However, change is afoot in the plant-based kids nutrition market. Else Nutrition, a start-up from Israel, is making baby and kids formula from more diverse ingredients such as almonds, buckwheat, and tapioca. This has caught the eye of dairy major Danone, owner of kids nutrition brands Aptamil and Nutricia. The duo has agreed to a multi-stage collaboration that would see Danone license Else Nutrition’s products for sale under its own branding.

The first stage of the collaboration covers a licensing agreement so that Danone can make, market and commercialize Else’s products within its own portfolio. In addition, the parties will negotiate ‘other opportunities’ beyond product commercialization. A Danone spokesperson told FoodNavigator the two parties have signed a letter of intent ‘only’ at the stage.

Else’s 100% plant-based formula is rich in ‘healthy fat’, gluten-free carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. Co-founder and CEO Hamutal Yitzhak told delegates at the Future Food-Tech event last year, “Our technology is looking at human milk as a whole and at the benefits of it. We’re not trying to replicate a specific ingredient, because it contains hundreds of different substances and we’ll probably never be able to mimic it completely…So why not look at the benefits of it; why not look at the outcome rather than the input.”

Else is currently selling into the US and Canadian markets, and just last month launched its toddler formula into the UK. Danone has made advances in plant-based kids nutrition in recent years. Last year, the company launched its first Dairy & Plants Blend baby formula under its Nutrilon brand in the Netherlands.

“We’ve found that parents and consumers in the Netherlands are very interested in plant-based foods,” Manuela Borella, VP of global plant-based strategy & business acceleration said.

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