Formulations influenced by many factors
The law stipulates the ingredients that may or must be present in an infant formula and in what quantities. Minimum and/or maximum values are set, which may differ from region to region. Infant formula must contain vitamins such as A, D, B6
and minerals such as iron
. Substances such as chromium and fluoride
, for example, may be added optionally.
Alongside the legal requirements, there are additional criteria that influence the selection of ingredients. These include scientific findings and trends in daily diets of infants and young children. Depending on the recommendations, the formulation is based more on the legal minimum or maximum value of an ingredient. In addition to its own formulations, HOCHDORF also produces infant formula to meet specific customer requirements, which often include additional specifications.
And the composition of a formulation is limited by a range of factors from the start. The next challenge comes during production. It is only when the trials and analyses are underway that it becomes apparent whether a product can be produced as planned. It often becomes necessary to optimise the formulation or the production parameters after the first tests. New development – from deciding the ingredients to first production
HOCHDORF has its own product lines with fixed formulations as a matter of principle. However, new scientific findings and changes in legislation mean that it is always necessary to adapt formulations or, as required by the new EU regulation, develop new ones. A host of minimum and maximum limit values have changed with the new EU regulation, requiring the development of new formulations and processes. The development team started working on the new EU-compliant formulations three years ago with the first clarifications, preliminary tests and initial proposals for their own new premium lines for stages 1, 2 and 3. They compared the previous formulations with the new limits and considered the compositions that would make sense. They also incorporated new findings and changed some quantities, including or excluding optional ingredients and using the opportunity to "upgrade" HOCHDORF's own formulations and incorporate the EU updates.
Producing new formulations is a huge challenge. Chemical reactions among the substances may vary depending on the proportions, which can influence the individual steps in the process. The new EU regulation, for example, required a higher content of specific polyunsaturated fatty acids
. The increase in these raw materials makes the powder more susceptible to oxidation, which means it can become 'rancid' during the best-before date period. It is the task of the developers, together with quality assurance and production, to look for a solution to such problems. In the case of the new EU formulations, it was necessary to adapt the production processes.
Test productions are planned after an initial development phase in the laboratory or on the pilot plants. This involves checking how the formulation can be produced on the regular, full-scale production facilities. Nutritional value analyses of the finished powder can be carried out subsequently and the powder characteristics checked. The powder produced during the trial production cannot be sold, although it is extremely important for providing customer samples and creating storage tests. It is also used for experiments and tests, like mixing or filling trials on the tin line. The remaining powder can usually be used as animal feed.