Where innovation leads

I think about the infant formula market, every time I open up my cupboard. The baby the cans fed is a robust, rugby-loving, 12 year old with an appetite like a horse (and a penchant for drinking buckets of milk, along with yogurt and ice cream, and anything else he can get his hands on, like pizza). The tins are a good size for storing pasta and oats so there they sit, a reminder of what we gave him as a baby and as a toddler.

DSM of the Netherlands has purchased a Danish supplier of human milk oligosaccharides, Glycom. The advancement in infant formulas is so profound that the formulas of today are a far cry from what passed for formula even a decade ago. The interesting thing is that these advancements in early life applications, as the formula market is often called, can be applied in other areas. Elder nutrition, specialist formulas for children and adults with gastrointestinal issues – the mind boggles. In a way, the feeding of the very young is a keystone to using the ingredients in dairy for other applications. We all benefit, as the technology advances to make better early nutrition. DSM, with its global reach, can get the HMOs Glycom produces to new markets and outlets.

I think that’s the upside of living in today’s world. The advances are coming thick and fast and giving hope to human ailments that have long dogged us. However, the advent of items such as coronavirus means that the fight is continuing, and we as humans will probably always need to keep an eye out. As Peter Meehan, Peter Meehan, senior commodity analyst at INTL FCStone, reminds us:

The impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has weighed heavily on global dairy markets in recent weeks as uncertainty as to its impact on Chinese demand for dairy commodities and supply-chain logistics looms large over markets. A significant proportion of the potential price negativity caused by COVID-19 has been offset for the moment by the on-going dryness concerns over New Zealand’s North Island which has led to a sharp fall-off in its pasture growth rates. Now that we have moved well beyond New Zealand’s peak milk-producing months and collections tail-off as per their seasonal trend, there’s a sense that the impact of COVID-19 will begin to win that recent tug-of-war, putting further pressure on dairy prices in the coming weeks. We understand Chinese port capacity is has been severely curtailed by reduced staffing which has led to a backlog of vessels waiting to unload. Internal logistics are also heavily impacted by staffing issues while the transportation of medical supplies is being prioritised as efforts continue to stop the spread of the virus. A decline in the numbers of people dining in restaurants, fast-food outlets etc. has also led to a fall in demand for dairy ingredients typically used as such outlets. This in turn is further impacting on dairy commodity consumption.”

Stay healthy, everyone.

Photo credit: Courtesy of EPI

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