baby with a bottle

What's Driving Market Demand for Growing Up Milk?

Looking for the next ingredient for your growing up milk formulation? Check out trends in this growing product category and learn about ingredients parents are looking for here. 

When it comes to ensuring kids get the nutrients they need to grow up strong, parents are exploring their options, especially as their little ones move on from breast milk or infant formula to solid food. According to a survey of Chinese parents, 74% prefer milks designed specifically for children.1

One tool parents can use to boost their toddlers’ diets is growing up milk, otherwise known as toddler milk. A step beyond infant formula, toddler milk is fortified with vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics to boost kids’ nutrient intake and is intended for children aged 1 to 3.

Toddlers rarely consume recommended levels of most nutrients through their diets alone, including vitamins D and calcium.

According to the most recent dietary guidelines for Americans, “during the second year of life, the dietary components of public health concern for under consumption are vitamin D, calcium, dietary fiber, and potassium.”2 Adding growing up milk products boosted with extra nutrients— can help manage these levels without adding too many calories, another important consideration for today’s parents. 

toddler with sippycup

Wordwide Demand for Specialty Milk Formulas

Euromonitor estimated the global growing up milk formula market at $20 billion in 2020, expanding at a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period 2020–2025.3 Several factors are predicted to drive the growth of growing up milks including rapid urbanization, the demand for products to meet parents’ health-related concerns, and the rise of women in the workplace.

Asia Pacific should be an especially high-growth segment, with more parents in China and India becoming more conscious of the importance of infant and toddler health. Additionally, Chinese parents also agree that that babies need to have infant milk formula until age three.4

Although growth projections are not as high in Western Europe, the growing up milks segment is still forecasted to grow 3.2% in the same time.  According to a study by Mintel, 60% of French parents with children under 4 have purchased infant formula or growing up milks in the last 2 months.5

Ingredients for Brain Development in Toddlers

Among top concerns among parents for growing toddlers is brain and cognitive development. In China, more than half (53%) of Chinese parents would be encouraged to buy food/drinks that are good for their child’s intelligence development.6 In the US, 80% of baby/toddler milk launches since 2015 have contained a brain health claim.7

Two cognitive supporting ingredients on the radar of toddler milk formulators and parents alike are DHA and MFGM. The more well known, DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, has demonstrated in studies conducted in healthy children that usual intake of DHA among toddlers and children is low and it is an essential brain component affecting learning and behavior.8

The more recently emerged dairy-based brain health ingredient, MFMG, or milk fat globule membrane, is found naturally in milk and is a complex structure composed primarily of lipids and proteins that surround the milk fat globule. Studies of MFGM in children indicate supplementation is associated with higher cognitive scores,9,10 improved hand eye coordination IQ, performance IQ and general IQ.11

Our Ingredients for Growing Up Milks

Are you interested in developing or expanding a product line to tap into the toddler milk formula market? Try NeoShield™, our concentrated whey protein rich in bioactive whey components such as MFGM, phospholipids, lactoferrin and immunoglobulins targeted at supporting cognitive and immune health in toddlers and children. Also suitable for maternal health. NeoShield is the solution for immune and cognitive support during pregnancy and through childhood. Additionally you can explore other fortification options through vitamin and mineral custom nutrient premixes which can be used for growing up milks and other toddler formulations.

Get in touch to learn more about all our options in early life nutrition. 


1.    Mintel, Purchasing Food & Drinks for Children- China, March 2018.
2.    Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, 9th Ed. (2020). Chapter 2: Infants and Toddlers. 
3.    Euromonitor, Packaged Food, 2020.
4.    Mintel, Key innovations in pregnancy and infant nutrition, November 2019.
5.    Mintel, A year of innovation in baby milk & food, 2019, July 2019.
6.    Mintel, It's time to refresh the maternal health category, November 2019.
7.    Mintel GNPD, accessed August 2020.
8.    Nutrients. 2013 Jul; 5(7): 2777–2810.
9.    Am J Clinical Nutr 2014;99;860-8.
10.  Pediatr Res 2014;76;394-400.
11.  Early Hum Dev 2012;88;595-601. 

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