CHINA – Nestle has expanded the marketing of its new infant formulas containing a novel nutrient blend to all provinces in China following its global debut in Hong Kong in July.

The product, launched under the brand WYETH S-26 Ultima, contains alpha-lipids, phospholipids including sphingomyelin, vitamin B12, DHA, iron, folic acid, and 2′-Fucosyllactose relevant for the formation of myelin.

Myelin is a lipid-rich sheath that insulates and protects nerve fibers crucial for cognitive and behavioral development.

The Swiss multinational company said the product, containing the blend marketed as Nutrilearn Connect, is only available in China and Hong Kong.

Market launch in other countries is expected to take place next year, however, the product, which is available as a stage 1 to 4 formula, is sold across both e-commerce and offline retail stores, and product pricing is determined by these merchants.

Janet Matope, R&D communications manager said: “Our commercial decisions on where to launch innovations are based on several factors, including the market’s acceptance for innovations, the brand’s geographical reach, or overall competitive environment.”

“We are currently completing the clinical study data analyses for infants up to 2 years of life. These additional results are planned to be published in 2023. In our scientific work, we connected different fields of our research expertise, including infant nutrition and cognitive development, before embarking on a first-of-its-kind clinical study.”

According to the firm, new clinical data on the nutrient blend will be presented at the Excellence in Pediatric Conference in Amsterdam in December.

Findings published in Frontiers in Nutrition showed that infants who consumed formula containing the nutrient blend showed an increase in myelin volume in the whole brain, the cerebellum, and the occipital lobe. These regions are involved in sensory, motor, cognitive, and language functions.

The clinical trials on the blend were carried at conducted at the Rhode Island Hospital and Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the US.

Eline Van der Beek, Head of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences at Nestlé Research said earlier on the firm’s research that the R&D teams developed novel approaches, such as measuring specific nutrients in breast milk or visualizing and quantifying myelin in the developing brain.

The new introduction of the infant formula, a marking of global scaling comes just two months after Nestlé made a unilateral commitment to not promote infant formula for babies up to six months of age in all countries around the world, effective January 1, 2023.

The unprecedented decision by the world’s largest food manufacturer is particularly relevant in the United States, Canada, and Japan where no regulations currently exist.

Nestlé revealed this in its recently published annual compliance report on its Policy on the responsible marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS).

The report is based on compliance monitoring activities and audits undertaken in 2021 and provides insight into Nestlé’s robust WHO Code compliance system.

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