Fonterra New Zealand innovation award for infant nutrition studies
Fonterra has been researching infant nutrition and the role of gangliosides, a complex lipid in human breast milk that is believed to aid cognitive development in newborns and toddlers.
Justine Gilliland, director investment programmes at MPI, said that pediatric nutrition forms an important part in the early development of children, and the research ensures that infant formula provides the necessary nutrition to help grow their minds.
Importance of nutritional quality of milk
Fonterra director group research and development, Dr Mark Malone noted that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants.
“However, for mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, the nutritional quality of milk formula is of utmost importance,” Malone said.
“Our work on complex milk lipids, which are packed with many of the minor components found in breast milk, has been all about providing an alternative, making it more similar to the composition of breast milk.”
He said Fonterra had applied these findings to maternal and pediatric nutrition products to deliver more nutritional benefits that may help to support growth and cognitive development.
Seven-year dairy program
The award marks the fourth straight year Fonterra has picked up an innovation award.
The milk lipids research has been supported by Transforming the Dairy Value Chain – a seven-year NZ$170m ($124m) Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) program between the MPI, Fonterra and DairyNZ that aims to create new products, increase on-farm productivity, reduce environmental impacts and improve agricultural education.