ESPGHAN 2015 – Big success for Hero

The Netherlands - Mon, 07/06/2015

With the scientific community looking on, Hero took center stage at this year’s ESPGHAN meeting in Amsterdam in May to launch the next generation of infant milk formulae using the Lipilact blend. Deemed Hero’s greatest innovation ever for the infant milks category, Lipilact includes a unique blend of milk fat and Milk Fat Globule Membranes (MFGM) that comes as close as possible to mother’s milk.

“We always insist that breast is best, so we have come up with this blend that mimics as much as possible the beneficial effects of a mother’s milk. This new blend helps strengthen a baby’s immunity system, aids brain development and supports a natural healthy growth and development,” Stefan Bodenstab, VP Innovation and Quality, said. “This is the future of infant milk formulae and we are ready for the future.”

ESPGHAN, the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, is one of the world’s largest scientific communities. The society aims to promote the health of children and holds an annual meeting, bringing together medical and nutritional experts from Europe and beyond.

What is the Lipilact blend?

Known as the Tumme study, which received a number of awards*, the research around Lipilact was initiated in 2006 by the Hero Group in collaboration with Umea University. The first results were unveiled two years ago, also at ESPGHAN, demonstrating the beneficial effects of this natural blend.

While the scientists leading the study expected positive results, but not to such levels: “The infants [given the Lipilact blend] had better cognitive development than the infants given the standard formula and there was no difference between breast-fed infants and those who had the MFGM formula, and that surprised us. They had also fewer infections, particularly otitis media,” said Prof. Olle Hernell, from Umea University, Sweden, one of the lead scientists of the research study.

A great deal of nutrients are found in MFGM, which is a near-invisible membrane that surrounds lipid droplets in natural milk. MFGM contains a number of important elements for the healthy development of babies’.

The novelty of the new Lipilact blend is that it contains the same amount of MFGM concentration as found in mother’s milk. Hero has combined existing knowledge in the Group with advice from our external scientific advisors to develop this new concept.

Decades ago, milk fat was commonly used in formulae. However, scientists did not know about the existence of MFGM or its beneficial attributes. When milk fat was replaced by vegetable oil in the mid-1970s – a decision taken by most producers of milk formulae – MFGM was also unwittingly removed.

Hero presentation attracts crowds

The presentation of the science behind Lipilact was made before a packed audience at the ESPGHAN meeting. Nearly 300 participants attended the Hero satellite symposium, double the amount who attended the last Hero symposium at ESPGHAN in 2013. The symposium was chaired by the Tumme study lead scientists Prof. Hernell and Prof. Bo Lŏnnerdal, while presentations were delivered by Prof. Carolyn Slupsky from the University of California, and Dr Niklas Timby from the University of Umea, Sweden.

“We expected many people, but the response was incredible,” Marisa Vidal, Scientific Communication Manager, said. Marisa, who manages the Hero Institute for Infant Nutrition, was the driving force behind the organization of the Hero participation at ESPGHAN.

More than 4,000 delegates from around the world attended the event, many of whom visited the Hero stand where we showcased our science and products – and ran a (very successful) smoothie bar.

All eight scientific posters submitted for consideration by Hero were accepted – last time round, just two of seven posters were accepted – and presented at the conference. The posters highlight the science used in Hero products.

* The Tumme Study received the 2015 Rolf Zetterstrom Prize (best thesis within the pediatric field in Sweden 2014), the 2014 ESPGHAN Scientific Award - Jean Rey Prize for Niklas Timby (one of the scientists on the project), and the 2013 ICN Nutrimenthe Award (The Young Scientists Competition at the NUTRIMENTHE International Conference, 2013) for Niklas Timby.