The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommend to breastfeed infants until six months old. Still, global commercial milk formula sales are booming. Between 2005 and 2019, the total sales grew from 1 million to 2.1 million tonnes.
Problem Statement: The reason behind this boom is the increase in women workforce in rich and urbanised countries. The necessity to feed infants with milk formula occurs due to inadequate employment conditions which do not support women in their first months of motherhood.
Scope for Innovation: These factors led scientists and researches to look into solutions that could potentially imitate breastmilk in terms of nutrients and health benefits for infants. Human breast milk contains hundreds of sugars. These are called Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). HMOs are not sweet but can carry immense health benefits for babies; HMOs nurture healthy microbiota in babies’ guts, and help strengthen babies’ immune systems and neurological development.
Our Solution of the Week, Sugarlogix, resembles the HMOs contained in breast milk through yeast fermentation. After fermentation, they dry the material into a powder and add it in infant formulas. Sugarlogix is a USA-based company, founded in 2017 by Kulika Chomvong and Chaeyoung Shin.
Sugarlogix pledge to create sugars alternatives and healthy sweeteners. The sugar powder can be introduced in adult diets and in skincare formulations. In addition, it can be used as additive in functional food and beverages, thus making it accessible for a variety of applications.