Introduced at Fi Europe, Betapol® Plus sets the new industry standard and gets even closer to the fat composition of mother’s milk.
Today at Fi Europe, Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC), the edible oil business of Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG), unveiled Betapol® Plus, the next generation of premium quality Oleic-Palmitic-Oleic (OPO or SN-2 palmitate) lipids for infant formula. Betapol Plus is the most advanced OPO product of its kind and delivers on BLC’s aim to provide the best solutions for modern-day infant nutrition.
OPO is a uniquely structured lipid naturally present in mother’s milk. Honored with the Fi Europe 2019 Innovation Award for Functional Innovation, the new Betapol Plus blend for infant formula offers a 60% OPO or SN-2 palmitate level, which is the highest level available on the market, up to 50% higher than current products. This new solution is closer to the levels in mother’s milk fat than any offering available on the market. Benefits of Betapol Plus for babies include improved energy intake, increased bone mineral density, reduced constipation, healthy gut bacteria, less crying and better sleep.
“There is a strong need in the infant milk formula industry to get as close as possible to the composition and benefits of mother’s milk, ensuring parents have the best alternative available when breastfeeding is not possible,” said Dr. Emiliano Rial Verde, Vice President Nutrition at BLC. “With Betapol Plus, we are providing an option that is closest to nature. It adds significant value to infant formula brands where premium choices are in high demand and to the growing specialty infant formula market addressing diverse dietary needs.”
Developed by BLC, the science behind Betapol Plus is backed by robust clinical studies, scientific research programs and established relationships with key infant nutrition authorities in Europe.
“We all agree that breastfeeding is important for infant nutrition and bonding,” says Dr. Wiola Mi, Global Human Nutrition Science Lead of the new generation Betapol. “But when breastfeeding is not an option, choosing the best infant formula, with the best evidence-backed ingredients, is key for babies’ healthy growth and development.”
OPO or SN-2 Palmitate Explained
As lipids are essential for nutrient requirements and contribute to almost half of the baby’s energy intake, the correct lipid structure is key for proper digestion and absorption. OPO is naturally present in mother’s milk, with 60-75% palmitic acid levels in the middle, or SN-2, position, and oleic acid in the outer SN-1 and SN-3 positions. This unique OPO lipid structure allows babies to absorb more nutrients.
Moving from Mimicking to Matching Mother’s Milk Fat Composition
Until now, no ingredient supplier could provide an OPO or SN-2 palmitate level that surpassed 40-45% and most commercial infant formulas have mainly POP (Palmitic-Oleic-Palmitic) fats. Not only do the levels of OPO or SN-2 palmitate in mother’s milk range from 60% to 75% of total lipids, palmitic acid is also more favorably absorbed in the OPO structure rather than in the POP structure. Furthermore, clinical evidence shows a dose-dependent response when OPO or SN-2 palmitate levels are greater than 40%, as levels above this threshold show increased calcium and lipid absorption.
Global Business Unit Nutrition
Betapol Plus is the next illustration of BLC’s heritage and leadership in the development of advanced solutions for infant milk formula. Thirty years ago, BLC first invented OPO, known as Betapol, which quickly became the recognized standard for infant milk formula worldwide. Betapol was the very first enzymatically processed fat blend bringing infant milk formula closer to nature by mimicking the lipid structure of mother’s milk. In 2019, BLC further strengthened its dedication to nutrition innovation by launching a global Nutrition Business Unit focused on delivering high quality, innovative solutions in infant, sports and medical nutrition.
“This new Betapol product is definitely a milestone in our lipid solutions innovation, but not the end,” according to Dr. Emiliano Rial Verde. “Taking advantage of our 30-year experience in specialty lipids for infant nutrition, we are continuously studying the composition and structure of human breast milk to provide customers and consumers with innovative products that are closer and closer to nature.”