Baby formula makers turn to supplements


Baby formula makers are beefing up sales of supplements and foods for pregnant women and nursing mothers to make up for sluggish sales of powdered formula.

The powered formula market is stagnant as more and more mothers breast-feed their babies and the nation’s birthrate continues to fall.

Last year, Bean Stalk Snow Co., a unit of Megmilk Snow Brand Co., launched a supplement product containing docosahexaenoic acid for nursing mothers to help improve the quality of their breast milk.

DHA is vital for the development of babies, but DHA levels in breast milk have fallen by around 20 percent compared with two decades ago as women are now eating smaller amounts of DHA-rich fish, Bean Stalk Snow officials said.

Sales of the supplement are 20 percent higher than the targeted level, according to the officials.

Morinaga Milk Industry Co. is strengthening sales of iron- and calcium-supplemented confectionery and drinks under its E-Okasan nutritious food brand for expectant and nursing mothers.

Meiji Co., a food maker owned by Meiji Holdings Co., and Wakodo Co., a unit of major food and beverage maker Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., have released foods with increased amounts of folic acid for expecting mothers.

Meanwhile, baby goods seller Akachan Honpo Co., a subsidiary of retail giant Seven & I Holdings Co., has increased the number of baby foods at its store in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, to 140 from 120.