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Startup Bobbie introduced its infant formula product in January 2021, the first new brand to be approved for sale in the United States in nearly a decade.

It was a small operator representing a tiny fraction of the $4 billion U.S. formula market, but when shortages began roiling the industry in recent months, Bobbie offered at least one more option for rattled parents to turn to. The story of this young company — and this critical moment of disruption — illustrates why innovation is desperately needed in an essential-food industry that’s both antiquated and paralyzed by consolidation.

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