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Case study: Enhancing digestibility in infants

Hot Topic: How to turn fussy young eaters into foodies


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The first two years of life are critical for the development of food preferences and eating behaviours that shape children’s dietary patterns, and can have serious implications on the development of disease later in life.

Read our blog on how to turn young fussy eaters into foodies.

Helping to build a healthy future

Creating solutions for infant and toddler nutrition demands the type of specialist knowledge and expertise for which Kerry is renowned.

At Kerry we have dedicated nutritional experts, who understand the varying nutritional requirements of infants and toddlers, taking into consideration their digestive and immune health as well as their cognitive and physical development.

Kerry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in food safety and quality to the infant and toddler market. Our fully integrated dairy supply chain ensures the safety and quality of our products

Ireland is recognised as a world leader in high quality, sustainable food production. In 2013 Kerry became an approved member of Origin Green, the nationally accredited sustainability programme of An Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board). 

The Origin Green programme that seeks to demonstrate the commitment of Irish food and drink manufacturers to operate in the most sustainable manner possible. It includes a commitment to operate sustainably in terms of raw material sourcing, greenhouse gas emissions, energy conservation, water management, biodiversity, community initiatives and health and nutrition.

We help our customers create products for all stages of infancy through to the pre-school years – from infant formula to growing up milk and toddler cereals and snacks ensuring that both taste and nutrition are prioritised throughout. Our experienced and dedicated R&D and nutrition teams work alongside key research institutes and universities as part of our research programme, placing us at the cutting edge of scientific developments.

Optimum nutrition begins at birth

It takes about a year for an infant’s digestive system to mature. Their diet directly impacts the health of their complex and sensitive digestive system.

When babies are born, their digestive tract is essentially a clean slate, and is very quickly colonised with a vast collection of microorganisms. We are experts in designing and formulating solutions for infants that protect and encourage a healthy digestive system through introduction of proteins, fibre, prebiotics, probiotics and nutritional lipids.

Prebiotics and probiotics may help to establish and maintain a healthy gut microflora, which in turn is beneficial for healthy digestion and support of the immune system. Dietary fibre is also important when solid foods are introduced. Fibre improves digestive health by regulating gut function and intestinal transit.

Meeting the needs of children and their parents

Digestive discomfort can be a root cause of fussiness and discontent in infants and children, and a growing number of infants and children are presenting tolerance and allergy issues. Parents are looking for solutions to ease their child’s digestion while still meeting all their nutritional needs for growth and development. Specialised proteins can play a role in improving digestive tolerance and managing the risk of allergy. Kerry has a range of enzymatically hydrolysed dairy and plant based proteins that are easier for infants to tolerate and digest.

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Building defences early

Because of their immature immune systems, infants and toddlers are less able to mount an effective immune response to fight infections compared to adults. Optimal nutrition is essential for a healthy immune system.

A strong immune system provides infants and toddlers with a powerful defense against common illnesses that can disrupt the whole family, making it essential to provide proven nutrition that fosters healthy immune function.

Central to Kerry’s immune product offering is Wellmune®, a 100% natural, gluten-free ingredient that is clinically proven to help strengthen the immune system making it easier for infants and toddlers to be well and stay well.

Digestion – the key to a healthy immune system

More than 70% of the body’s immune system resides in the digestive system so it plays a key role in maintaining optimum immune health. The digestive tract helps us to digest food, absorb nutrients, assist toxin clearance and shields us from invading bacteria and viruses. When digestion suffers from food intolerance or food allergy inflammation occurs, which makes fending off viruses and bacteria more difficult.

Designed to work in harmony with a developing digestive system, Kerry’s Selpro 80 is a hydrolysed whey protein with reduced allergenic potential. It also has excellent nutritional, functional and flavour characteristics, making it an ideal protein source for infant milk formulas.

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Nutrition for growth

Appropriate amounts of essential nutrients are necessary to support the rapid rate of growth and development in infants and toddlers. 

Macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fat are essential to support their energy needs, assist with tissue growth and ensure appropriate development.

The rapid development of a child's brain begins in the prenatal stage and continues after birth. Although cell formation is virtually complete before birth, brain maturation and important neural pathways and connections continue to develop after birth into early childhood. Nutrition must support the rapid development of brain and vision during these first years of life.

Bone health is vital

A person’s peak bone producing years also happen during childhood. Many different nutrients are required for the growth, development and maintenance of healthy bones such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous, vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium and protein. Vitamin D is particularly important for bone health as it increases the absorption of calcium from foods.

Kerry provides a comprehensive range of nutritional solutions to support the healthy growth and development of infants and toddlers through infant formula and toddler milks, and an extensive offering of cereals and snacks packed with nutritional benefits.

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Responding to complex needs

The last 40 years have seen a dramatic rise in allergic diseases with evidence suggesting this is associated with the increased ‘westernisation’ of lifestyles.

Formula-fed infants can be particularly sensitive to protein. Hydrolysed proteins can be beneficial in the management of digestive discomfort and risk of allergy.

True cows milk protein allergy affects about 2-3% of infants globally. Kerry has developed solutions suitable for milk formulas for infants who are sensitive to cow’s milk.

Approximately 70% of the world’s population has primary lactase deficiency, the most common cause of lactose intolerance worldwide. Lactose intolerance is more common, especially among certain ethnicities. About 20% of Hispanic, Asian and African American children <5 years are lactose intolerant. Kerry’s solutions suitable for addition to infant and growing up milk formulas designed for lactose sensitivit.

Kerry, the perfect partner

With the growing prevalence of allergies and intolerances, parents are looking for solutions to ease their child’s discomfort while still meeting all their nutritional needs. Kerry is the perfect partner for the development of products targeting infant and toddlers with tolerance and allergy issues.

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Contact us about Infant and Toddler Nutrition