Jul 13, 2020
Nestle Introduced Anti-Allergic Baby Food Brand into China
In China, the food allergy rate of infants and young children is estimated to reach 14.1%, and the number of allergies is increasing year by year. Nestle Health Sciences introduced a new baby food brand, “Spoonfulone” through cross-border e-commerce into China market, aiming to help reduce the risk of food allergy for infants by the early intervention of various food protein allergens.
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Allergy has become one of the biggest health concerns for infants and young children. A variety of baby health problems such as eczema, diarrhea, constipation, milk vomiting, and crying are more or less related to allergies. Nestle’s survey shows that one in ten babies worldwide suffers from food allergies [1]. In China, the food allergy rate of infants and young children is estimated to reach 14.1%, and the number of allergies is increasing year by year [1]. Nutritional products addressing children's food allergies are one of the categories with great growth potential in the Chinese market.

Nestle Health Sciences has been profoundly engaged in diet management and FSMPs (Food for special medical purposes), which aims at allergic infants and young children. It introduced a new baby food brand, Spoonfulone, to China via cross-border e-commerce.“Spoonfulone” is a "food blend powder" that can help reduce the risk of food allergy for infants by the early intervention of various food protein allergens.

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A differentiated product positioning

Most Chinese parents do not sufficiently know about food allergies. Conventional wisdom holds that early exposure to allergenic foods in children leads to an increased incidence of food allergies. Therefore, many parents believe that infants and young children should try to avoid early exposure to peanuts, milk products (non-fresh milk), eggs and other sensitive foods to reduce the incidence of allergies. However, scientific research shows that early introduction of high allergenic risk foods (peanut, milk, eggs, etc.) can help reduce the incidence of food allergies [2]

Compared with other allergy management products for infants and young children who have already shown allergy symptoms, Spoonfulone aims at a wider range of potential allergic group and provides solutions for early prevention of allergies. By highlighting the concept of "reducing the feasibility of allergies", the new product differentiates itself from other baby food products and takes the lead in the allergy prevention segment, which is a relatively untapped sector in Chinese market [3].

According to official information, Spoonfulone is suitable for "babies aged over 6 months and have not been diagnosed with food allergies." It comes from the latest patent technology of Stanford University in the United States, by extracting protein from 16 kinds of organic foods which cover 90% of allergens. In addition, Spoonfulone adopts a portable small packaging design, and parents can add it into fruit puree, rice paste, and oat when feeding babies. 

Focus on omni-channel

Spoonfulone has been available on three major cross-border e-commerce platforms of Kidswant, JD and Tmall. Besides, the company hopes to further expand offline channels. According to Nestle, Spoonfulone is expected to be available in offline channels such as mother and baby stores next year after formula adjustment according to the Chinese national standards.

Currently, cross-border e-commerce has become the preferred way for some imported baby products to enter China. However, the offline channel is also of great importance, especially in Chinese lower-tier cities, in which the number of births exceeds that of first- and second-tier cities.

Nestle’s ambition in baby allergy management

The entry of Spoonfulone further expands Nestle's food allergy product mix for infants and young children. It extends Nestle’s advantages in the FSMPs to the baby food sector, and a complete product portfolio of food allergy management is taking shape.

Prior to Spoonfulone, three FSMP products of Nestle Health Sciences have been registered [3],  including "Althera" ( a hydrolyzed, hypoallergenic formula that provides first-line relief from the symptoms associated with cow's milk protein allergy), "Alfaré" ( a hydrolysed whey protein infant formula for cow's milk protein allergy management in infants 0-12 months) and "Alfamino" (a hypoallergenic amino acid formulas for infants&children with multiple food allergies and malabsorptive conditions).

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In recent years Nestle Health Science has been strengthening its brand and technology edge in allergy management through acquisitions and other means. In February, the company announced a further equity investment of US $200 million (approximately 1.4 billion yuan) in the US biopharmaceutical company, Aimmune Therapeutics. Spoonfulone comes from Before Brands, which is the technical authority for early childhood allergy prevention; Nestle Health Science invested it in September last year. 

***Disclaimer: All images used in this article are from the internet.
Shine Hu
ChemLinked Research Analyst
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