Monday, December 12, 2022

History and invention of infant milk formula

German scientist, Johann Granz Simon, in 1838, publishes the first chemical analysis of human and cow’s milk. This becomes the basis for formula nutrition science and stays that way for many decades. In 1865, German chemist Justus von Liebig developed, patented, and marketed an infant food, first in a liquid form and then in a powdered form for better preservation.

Liebig's formula—consisting of cow's milk, wheat and malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate—was considered the perfect infant food. Leibig's Soluble Infant Food was the first commercial baby food in the US, selling in groceries for $1 a bottle in 1869.

The first fully artificial infant milk formula, Farine Lactee, was developed in the 1860s. "Farine Lactée Nestlé" , a mixture of cow's milk, wheat flour, and sugar, was introduced in the 1860s and by the late 1870’s was available in the United States as “Nestlé’s Milk Food.”

It was modelled on the earlier work of German scientist Justus von Liebig, who developed a soluble food for babies based on his studies of animal nutrition.

Companies continued to try to create synthetics that more closely replicated human milk. Gerstenberger and Ruh introduced SMA (Synthetic Milk Adapted) in 1919; Nestle introduced Lactogen, and Franklin Foods, Similac, soon after. Nestlé began producing Lactogen in 1921. It was marketed to women as a nutritionally superior substitute for breast milk, and as a nutritional supplement for breast feeding mothers.

During 1920s, The Mead Johnson company introduce Sobee—the first soy-based formula—to consumers. A few years later, they also market Pablum, which is the first precooked fortified infant cereal made with ingredients like wheat, oats, corn, bone meal, alfalfa, and dried brewer's yeast.

By 1897 the Sears catalogue was selling no fewer than eight brands of commercial infant foods, including Horlick's Malted food ($.75 per bottle), Mellin's Infant Food ($.75 per bottle), and Ridge's Food for Infants ($.65 per bottle).

These new products gained the trust of the medical establishment, and the 1950s saw a sharp increase in infant formula use within the United States. Use of infant formula peaked within the 1970s, when approximately 75 percent of American newborns received formula instead of being breastfed.
History and invention of infant milk formula