Global speciality oils and fats supplier Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC) has introduced an infant lipid solution that mimics the fat composition of Chinese mothers’ breast milk, the company announced on 20 January.

Betapol Select is BLC’s first product line designed to mimic the balance of OPL (oleic-palmitic-linoleic) and OPO (1,3-dioleyl-2-palmitoylglycerol) structured lipids naturally present in Chinese mother’s milk fat.

“Research in infant nutrition made us understand that macronutrients in human breast milk vary – not only with lactation stages, diurnally, and within feeds, but also regionally. These regional differences are influenced by the mother’s origin and diet. Our new solution combines the benefits of Betapol with the OPL and OPO balance naturally present in Chinese mother’s milk fat,” said BLC’s vice president nutrition Dr Emiliano Rial Verde.

OPO and OPL are structured lipids naturally present in breast milk. BLC said the presence of palmitic acid in the centre position (SN-2 palmitate) had been clinically proven to improve energy intake, increase bone mineral density, reduce constipation, increase healthy gut bacteria, reduce crying and improve sleep.

Recent research into mother’s milk had shown regional differences, according to BLC. In Western mothers’ milk fat, OPO was the most prevalent triglyceride, followed by OPL. However, in Chinese mothers’ milk, it was the opposite – the fat composition contained a higher level of OPL followed by OPO.

To replicate this balance, BLC said Betapol Select provided a high level of SN-2 palmitate with the right balance of OPL and OPO triglycerides.

“Data from Chinese mother’s milk gave us confidence in introducing Betapol Select to the Chinese market and respond to the needs of personalisation that parents are looking for in premium infant nutrition”, said Dr Wiola Mi, global human nutrition science lead of the new Betapol product.

“Designed for the needs of Chinese babies, Betapol Select provides the right OPL-OPO balance to mimic Chinese mother’s milk fat and, at the same time, comply with the current and upcoming Chinese GB standards for infant and toddler formula".

BLC’s Betapol Select launch follows the introduction of the company’s Betapol Plus product in 2020 and the earlier – original – Betapol product.

The original Betapol product comprises up to 55% of palmitic acid in the SN-2 position, while Betapol Plus comprises up to 75% palmitic acid in the SN-2 position.

BLC operates as the global edible oils business of US agribusiness giant Bunge and its products are used in a wide range of applications, from bakery and confectionery to culinary and infant nutrition.