The new product was launched under the Wyeth Illuma brand this month.
Nestle has been selling infant and growing up or stage 4 formulas containing HMOs into China via cross-border e-commerce. The launch this time round means that it is the first time the company’s HMO product is approved for local manufacturing and local retail.
Chinese authorities last month officially gave the green light to the use of the HMOs 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) and lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT) in infant formula.
Since the approval, major domestic players have introduced growing up or children’s milk containing HMOs. Examples include Junlebao, which did a pre-launch of its 2’-FL fortified children’s milk in China on October 13. Feihe and Yili are the other firms which have launched similar products.
Stage one to three infant formulas containing HMOs have yet to make their debut in China.
This is because companies will need to register these products with the Chinese authorities before they are allowed to sell it. The registration process could take at least a year to be completed.
Only behind lactose and lipids, HMOs are the third most abundant solid component in human breast milk. They are categorised into three major types, namely fucosylated HMOs, sialylated, and non-fucosylated neutral HMOs.
The two HMOs used in the new Wyeth Illuma growing up formula come from the fucosylated and non-fucosylated neutral categories, which make up between 42 and 55 per cent, and 35 per cent to 50 per cent of the total HMOs found in human breast milk respectively.
According to Nestle, scientific studies have shown HMOs’ benefits for gut and immune health as well as cognitive development in infants.
The new product is manufactured Nestle’s factory in Suzhou.
Aside from HMOs, the new product also contains the lipid blend Oleic-palmitic-oleic (OPO), which has a structure compositionally close to human milk.
The ingredient is said to help in the absorption of key nutrients, support digestion and promote soft stools.
Other key ingredients include DHA, ARA and phospholipids for brain development, as well as whey predominant proteins that are easier to digest and absorb while supporting growth at the same time.
The use of the ingredients is said to benefit gut and immune health and cognitive development.
"We are dedicated to leverage our innovation expertise and advance our research in early life nutrition. This is our first launch of HMO products in China. We are delighted to bring the benefits of HMOs and 35 other vital ingredients in this illuma growing up milk to young children,” said Laurent Alsteens, Global Head of Early Childhood Nutrition at Nestle.
This month, Nestle also launched a new infant formula containing six HMOs and two probiotic strains under the NAN InfiniPro brand in Hong Kong.