In partnership with Bobbie.
European formula brands have been a popular conversation topic among health-conscious parents for quite some time as they’re known for a focus on quality organic ingredients. These brands often rely on lactose as a carbohydrate source and stray away from ingredients and additives like corn syrup, palm oil, carrageenan, dextrose, and sucrose. But, they’re also not FDA regulated or readily-available in the US.
That’s why I was elated to find Bobbie. It’s a European-style formula that’s made in the United States and is fully regulated by the FDA. I was curious to find out how exactly it compares to popular European brands like Kendamil, Aptamil, Hipp, and Holle – so, of course I dove in to find out.
To Start: What’s The Difference Between US and European Formula Regulations?
Baby formula sold in the United States is regulated by the FDA, meaning that it must meet specified nutrient requirements. The FDA ensures that all formulas sold in the United States meet the minimum nutrient specifications for 30 nutrients and a maximum for 9 of those nutrients. The FDA also sets strict manufacturing standards to ensure accuracy and safety.
European standards for infant formula help limit pesticide residue, require that DHA is added to support baby’s brain and eye development, and limit the types of ingredients that can be used.
Before the formula shortage in the Spring of 2022, European infant formula brands were not allowed to be sold in the United States as they were not under FDA regulation. To help supply much-needed formula for babies, the current FDA enforcement discretion has temporarily allowed some European and other foreign formulas to be sold in the United States until November of 2022.
Some Popular European Brands…
Kendamil vs Bobbie
Kendamil is a privately-owned baby formula brand made in the United Kingdom. It was founded by a British family more than 60 years ago and has consistently delivered high quality baby formula for years. The brand uses a British supply chain for its whole milk formula and was awarded a Monde Selection Gold Metal for its organic formula.ﾠ
Kendamil meets the FDA requirements for standard infant formula with all of the essential vitamins and minerals infants need from birth to 12 months. Kendamil formula uses lactose as its carbohydrate source and does not include any added corn syrup, added sugars, or palm oil. The milk in Kendamil formula comes from Red Tractor Accredited farms, which place value on animal welfare, product traceability, food safety, and environmental protection. It also contains sunflower, coconut, and canola oils in both its Kendamil Classic First and Kendamil Organic First formulas. Additionally, Kendamil has a 60:40 whey-to-casein ratio and contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid essential for brain and eye development.
Kendamil is available at Target nationwide as part of Operation Fly Formula. One 31.7 oz can of Kendamil Classic First costs $33.99, or ($1.07/oz). Kendamil Organic First is a bit more expensive at $39.99/can, or $1.41/oz.
Aptamil vs Bobbie
Aptamil is produced by Nutricia factories (which is part of the Danone brand, commonly recognized for yogurts and water products, in addition to an extensive infant formula range). The brand has over 50 years of research experience into early life science under its belt. Nutricia has recently made changes to Aptamil’s formulation and packaging to ensure better freshness and safety. (This includes the removal of palm oil from products and changes to the levels of Nucleotides and Taurine.)
Only Aptamil’s 1 First Infant Milk powder is currently available and approved for sale in the United States until November 2022. This formula is made from a high-quality blend of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It’s also lactose-based, iron-fortified, contains DHA, plus milk from grass-fed cows. Aptamil is not organic – a consideration for parents looking to minimize their baby’s exposure to certain synthetic preservatives and additives. Aptamil’s whey-to-casein ratio is 50:50, a ratio commonly seen late in lactation and lower than other standard formulas.
Through November 2022, it is available for $1.31/oz in stores like Walgreens and Target across the country. It’s also sold online through Amazon.
Hipp vs Bobbie
Hipp infant formula has 5 different formulas to meet babies' specialized and general needs. These include an organic milk-based formula, goat's milk formula, specialized formula for acid reflux, and two lines that include prebiotics and probiotics. To nourish your baby from birth to 12 months, Hipp has two separate infant formulas, each specific to the first or second 6-month period.
Hipp is organic and uses lactose as its carbohydrate source. It includes DHA and ARA to support baby's brain and eye development. It also has a whey to casein ratio of 60:40 to mimic that of breast milk. Notably, Hipp includes palm oil as a fat source.
None of the Hipp infant formulas are currently FDA regulated or approved for sale in the United States.
Holle vs Bobbie
Holle infant formula has been available in Europe since 1934. Holle is organic, sustainable, and offers formula with dairy, A2 milk, or goat's milk to nourish babies with various needs. The brand offers separate formulas to meet the needs of infants 0-6 and then 6-12 months of age.
Holle formula does not contain soy, but does use fish, a common allergen, as a source of ARA. It is fortified with iron, though the iron in Holle formula is on the low end of what your baby needs. (The FDA requires that all formulas have between 0.15 to 3.0 mg of iron per 100kcal. Holle includes 0.18 mg/100 kcal in its stage 1 formula and 0.28 mg/100 kcal in its formula for 6 to 12 months.) Most babies have enough iron stored in their bodies from birth up until 4 months. After this, iron supplementation is required through breast milk, formula, or solid foods to promote healthy brain development.
None of the Holle infant formulas are currently FDA regulated or approved for sale in the United States.
And That Brings Us To Bobbie…
Founded in 2018 by two moms who struggled to breastfeed and were frustrated with the formula options on the market, Bobbie is the first European-inspired infant formula that’s both made and sold in the US and meets FDA requirements for infant formula. Bobbie makes two products, an Organic Infant Formula and an Organic Gentle Formula. The only carbohydrate is lactose, which is also the primary carbohydrate in breast milk. Additionally, its 60:40 whey to casein ratio closely resembles that of mature breast milk (and also makes it a more gentle option for your baby’s digestive system). On top of that, Bobbie formula provides 20 milligrams of DHA per 100 calories—which meets the EU standards for DHA.
Bobbie’s flagship formula is made with Organic Valley grass-fed milk from pasture-raised cows from across 45 small, family-owned American co-op farms. Bobbie does not use palm oil, corn syrup, soy allergens, cane sugar, gluten, maltodextrin, heavy metals, or pesticides. In fact, it's the first infant formula to receive both the Clean Label Project Purity Award and the Pesticide-Free certification.
New customers can shop Bobbie’s Starter Bundle, which includes 2 cans for $40 with free shipping. Bobbie is available as a one-time purchase ($116 for 4 cans) or by monthly subscription ($104 for 4 cans) online. It’s also available at Target stores nationwide.
More European brands of infant formula are available in the United States than ever before due to the Spring 2022 formula shortage. Their quality ingredients offer a peace of mind that’s certainly attractive to new parents. However, not all are currently available in the United States – and if they are, they may be for a limited time.
That’s why I continue to be thrilled with Bobbie. It follows a European-style recipe so that your baby can benefit from wholesome organic ingredients sourced locally in the United States. And, it’s here to stay. The mom-founded and led brand focuses on quality, safety, and advocacy to ensure that you and your baby consistently receive a formula you can trust.