USA – US natural protein company Helaina is set to disrupt the infant nutrition market with its natural, immuno-identical proteins that are 99% identical to those found in breastmilk. 

According to the company, its proteins which are a first in the infant formula category are created through the use of precision fermentation. 

“We’ve seen a lot of innovation and advancement in the alternative meat and dairy space, however, the infant formula category has been stagnant for decades,” Laura Katz, founder of Helaina, said. 

“I’m proud to be part of the team bringing a new solution to parents that empowers and equips them with more choice in their infant’s nutrition.” 

To make the project a success, the startup recently raised US$20 million in a Series A funding round, co-led by Spark Capital and Siam Capital. 

Additional investors include Primary Venture Partners, Plum Alley Investments, Tom Williams, Hannah Bronfman, Gabrielle Union, Matt Rutler, and Barrel Ventures, among others. 

The investment will be used to initiate the company’s manufacturing and commercialisation process, execute its go-to-market strategy, and further its talent acquisition efforts. 

Consumers happy to pay a higher price for protein fortified snacks 

Meanwhile, a recent Kerry survey of more than 6,300 consumers in 12 countries across the globe has found that 75% of respondents are happy to pay a higher price for snacks and treats fortified with protein.  

More than half of global consumers said they were happy to pay a 10% premium for high protein snacks, while an additional 15% would be willing to pay a 25% premium. 

The Protein Mindset – compiled from an extensive survey conducted earlier this year – substantiated the consumer’s deeper focus on health and wellness thanks to the pandemic, and underscored protein’s growing role in this.  

Be it plant, dairy, or animal protein, all consumers agreed that proteins carry a ‘health halo’ delivering multiple benefits beyond general wellness. 

Country-specific findings showed that Americans and Europeans correlate protein with weight management and building muscle.  

Latin Americans associated a higher protein intake with digestive and gut health for Latin American consumers while those in Asia-Pacific believe it is essential for better immunity, healthy aging, and glowing skin. 

Kerry however notes that taste is still considered the number one criterion 65%) with the quality of protein coming in a close second (59%) when it comes to driving the purchase decision.  

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