Milky brain food puts Fonterra in running for top innovation award
A Fonterra dairy ingredient that supports the brain development of babies during pregnancy and into infancy is a finalist in international awards recognising innovations that change people's lives.
The dairy co-operative's "breakthrough" milk lipid ingredient is an Ingredient of the Year – Infant Nutrition finalist at the NutraIngredients Awards in Geneva.
The ingredient was developed for maternal and infant formula using New Zealand milk and is being credited for helping to support brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
Fonterra Nutrition general manager Angela Rowan said the innovation was a credible new offering in the challenging infant nutrition category.
"It is well known that breastfeeding gives an infant the best start to life. Scientists at Fonterra have been focusing their research on the structure of lipids found in human breast milk and the associated benefits for the developing infant. The NZMP ingredient has been developed from cows' milk to help deliver complex milk lipids in infant formula."
The awards celebrate innovations improving people's lives, health and disease reduction. Judging is based on an innovation's scientific merit, efficiency, innovation and commercialisation.
Fonterra's research programme of pre-clinical and clinical studies supported the new ingredient was "positioned" for cognitive development.
Rowan said making the awards' final shortlist highlighted the co-operative's dairy expertise and strength in innovation, research and development and ability to pass on dairy nutrition to consumers.
Fonterra received a food and beverage innovation award at the New Zealand Innovation Awards last year for its research in infant nutrition.
Patents including for the ingredient technology have been granted in several countries.
Meanwhile, Fonterra has reopened the doors to its milk powder manufacturing plant in Malaysia after spending $7 million to boost manufacturing and to meet food safety and quality standards.
The upgrade will allow the plant to blend and pack about 30,000 metric tonnes of milk powder products a year. The site exports dairy products to 13 countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Fonterra has been based in Malaysia for 40 years and has more than 700 staff across two manufacturing sites and a corporate office.