Danone blends plant and dairy protein for flexitarian-friendly formula without nutritional compromise

Danone is preparing to launch its first ever Dairy & Plants Blend baby formula under the Nutrilon brand in the Netherlands.

The product has been developed to appeal to parents who want more ‘vegetarian and flexitarian’ options for their babies. “We’ve found that parents and consumers in the Netherlands are very interested in plant-based foods,”​ observed Manuela Borella, Vice President of Global Plant Based Strategy & Business Acceleration.

Danone said plant-based consumption is growing ‘substantially’ in Europe, pointing to data from the Smart Protein Project that shows over one-third (37%) of EU consumers are choosing a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet. Moreover, 69% of parents now prefer their children to eat more plant-based foods, a recent OnePoll survey revealed.

But, Danone said, until now there have been ‘few options’ for parents if they decide to move on from breastmilk and want to make food choices that are ‘healthy, more plant-based and better for the planet’.

Delivering the ‘best of both dairy and plants’

If consumers are looking for more plant-based options, why not just roll out a plant-based formula? We have certainly seen an uptick in innovation in this space. For instance, French producer Bébé M produces an organic infant formula that is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and palm oil-free; Else Nutrition has developed a 100% plant-based formula made from ingredients like almond, buckwheat and tapioca that the company says has ‘all macronutrients and 20+ essential vitamins and minerals’; and Nestlé-owned Gerber offers the Good Start line of plant-based formulas in the US.