Martek signs omega-3 deal with Chinese dairy to fortify infant formula

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Infant formula, Docosahexaenoic acid, Milk

Omega-3 producer Martek Biosciences Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement to to fortify Feihe Dairy’s new premium infant formula and growing-up milk products with DHA and ARA for sale in China.

Martek’s vice president of pediatric nutrition, Ethan Leonard, told NutraIngredientsUSA.com: “This partnership illustrates that infant formula manufacturers in China are recognizing the clinical importance and proven benefits of DHA and ARA in infant development, and choosing Martek DHA and ARA as their trusted source.”

The company’s general manager of China Operations, Binglin Shen added: "This new agreement with Feihe Dairy is another important step in Martek's effort to expand its international presence in the Chinese infant formula market."

Market value

The market value of infant formula and growing-up milks in China was valued at $4.3bn in 2009, according to research organisation Euromonitor.

Found naturally in breast milk, the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid DHA is a major structural component of the brain and eyes. It represents about 97 per cent of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93 per cent of all omega-3 fats in the retina.

ARA, also naturally found in breast milk, is the primary omega-6 fatty acid in the brain. It represents about 48 per cent of the omega-6 fats, and is important for optimal growth and proper infant brain development.

Martek was unable to specify the length of the partnership agreement.

The company says its proprietary blends of DHA and ARA, marketed under the brand names life'sDHA and life'sARA respectively, are currently used in more than 95 per cent of US infant formulas.

Feihe Dairy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Dairy is one of the leading producers and distributors of premium infant formula, milk powder, soybean, rice cereal and walnut products in China. Based in Beijing, the company has processing and distribution facilities in Kedong, Qiqihaer, Baiquan, Gannan, Longjiang, Shanxi, and Langfang.

The company has a total milk powder production capacity of about 1,234 tons per day. Its extensive distribution network reaches more than 95,000 retail outlets throughout China.

Nutritional requirements

Feihe Dairy chairman and CEO You-bin Leng said: "Featuring life'sDHA and life'sARA, Xinfeifan Baby Formula Milk Powder is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of child growth and development."

Meanwhile in May, Martek announced the launch of its life's DHA ingredient in China after signing a five-year deal with Chinese dairy, Mengniu.

The ingredient feature in varieties of Mengniu Future Star Kid Milk and is available nationally at major retailers.

In January this year the Chinese authorities granted DHA and EPA novel foods approval allowing their use in the mainstream food supply.

Related topics: Markets, Nutritionals, Functional Dairy

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