Queensland-based company Sprout Organic has debuted a new line of baby formula made from certified organic plant-based ingredients including rice starch and slated to land on retail shelves in the country in May this year. While the firm is not the first to develop a dairy-free version of infant milk (though admittedly existing formula options for vegan parents are few and far between), the company says they are the first to be 100% made from organic and plant-based ingredients, and is vegan-certified too.
Sprout Organic’s new plant-based baby milk formula, which will offer products suitable for both infants and toddlers, is made from a base of rice starch and contains only organic plant-based ingredients and is free from soy, a common allergen unsuitable for young children. The company, which claims that it is the first in the world to offer a plant-based infant milk that is entirely certified organic (by ACO), plant-based and suitable for newborns, says that it has also gained vegan certification from Vegan Australia. It will roll out the product in May across retail channels.
In an announcement, the brand says that it has already partnered with a number of distributors, including Global by Nature in New South Wales and Total Health distributors in Western Australia, to bring its new range across both states. Together, the two distribution deals will see its brand reach over 1,000 retail locations, including independent grocery stores, pharmacies and specialty health food shops.
Sprout Organic founder Sel Berdie added that they are likely to enter into more markets in the near future, including targeting international markets after a full nationwide launch.
“These are the first in a series of domestic and international distribution partnerships that we are working to establish as we continue to grow our business,” said Berdie.
The brand’s existing line of products includes children’s snack bars that first landed in store shelves last year. According to the firm, its entire line has been approved by paediatricians and dieticians to ensure it delivers on safety and nutrition standards.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, the company’s business manager Nadia Schilling said: “Australia and New Zealand have the highest standards worldwide in regard to infant formulas and children’s products. Sprout Organic’s infant formula meets the required FSANZ standards and has been verified to this by one of the largest food legal groups in Australia.”
“We are also members of the Australian Infant Nutrition Council and signatories to the MAIF agreement, all of which require a strict safety eligibility of our products,” Schilling added.
As mainstream consumers increasingly shift towards plant-based diets, particularly as health and sustainability concerns grow amidst the coronavirus pandemic, there has been surging demand for vegan products, with the lucrative US$45 billion infant milk formula industry that has long been at the helm of dairy giants likely to face disruption.
Global by Nature general manager Ryan Mclintock says that consumers are now looking for “genuine innovation in infant formula,” and believes that Sprout Organic’s new line will cater to bring “a whole new form of inclusivity in the sector”.
Though we are years away until cell-based solutions for infant milks will reach the market, there are two startups now working on cultivating baby formulas that will provide the same composition as real human breast milk – something that both plant-based and conventional dairy formulas are not able to deliver.
An earlier version of this article mistakenly suggested that Sprout Organic sold kids food pouches and prepared meal- we regret the error.
Lead image designed by Green Queen Media.