Kendal Nutricare Scoops CN Business Awards

Kendal Nutricare, the Cumbria-based pharmaceutical research company and manufacturer of Britain’s most unique infant formula, has been rewarded for the sea-change it has brought to the infant food sector, by winning the award for ‘Innovation’ in the CN Business Awards.

The award is recognition for the business’s decision to differentiate its own-brand ‘Kendamil Infant Formula’ from every other infant formula on sale in Britain, by using a recipe that uses full cream, whole milk, not the skimmed milk used in other products.

This move supports the beleaguered British dairy farmer and provides full traceability back to British dairy herds – a factor that has earned ‘Kendamil’ the valued ‘Red Tractor’ accreditation and quality mark.

The significant innovation underpinning ‘Kendamil’ was driven by Kendal Nutricare’s desire to put the infant’s nutritional needs ahead of cost engineering. By using a whole-milk formula, incorporating all the nutritional goodness of the cream, it has been able to cut back on the vegetable oils the big brand names have to rely upon, as a substitute for the cream they remove for use in other products.

The effects of this have already been evidenced. As anticipated, the cream is delivering more energy, creating fewer digestion and constipation issues than occur with a heavy use of vegetable oils and is promoting better sleep patterns.

This is not surprising. Whole milk is a good natural source of essential fatty acids and fat and fat-soluble vitamins and provides 13 essential vitamins and 12 essential minerals. It contains iodine, which is important for an infant’s mental and cognitive development, and choline – a B vitamin known to assist infant brain development.  Biotin – essential for normal human health, growth and development – is also present in whole milk.

The ‘Kendamil’ formula provides not just these naturally occurring nutritional benefits, but others besides, as Omega 3 and 6 and the pre-biotic, GOS, are added to the product during the formulation.

Despite creating a unique product and not cutting costs by using vegetable oils rather than cream, Kendal Nutricare is still pricing its infant formula competitively. Kendamil Infant Formula 900g tins retail at £9.49.

In a post-Brexit world, ‘Kendamil’ could gain a competitive advantage in its home market, by virtue of being the only infant formula actually manufactured in Britain, rather than being imported from the EU.

It has already made its mark in the overseas market, where Kendal Nutricare has won significant export contracts to countries such as China and in regions such as South East Asia and North Africa.

At home, it’s attracting the eye of various retailers, particularly those appreciating the sales potential of a unique and innovative product that has focused on the needs of the young consumer and demonstrated a desire to support Britain’s rural economy.

But innovation at Kendal Nutricare does not stop with ‘Kendamil Infant Formula’. The brand also has a range of Kendamil’ cereals in which natural nutrition abounds from the fruit within the recipe, whether the choice is blueberries, apples, bananas, pears, apricots or peaches. The fruit is blended with multigrains, including oat flakes or maize, millet and rice, to make healthy and tasty meal options for infants, which are quick and easy to make up.

A ‘Goat Milk Kendamil Infant Formula’ has also been launched by Kendal Nutricare and a ‘Kendamil Organic’ infant formula is hot on its heels.

Whilst the infant food market is driving much of the production through the Kendal-based factory, where many of the production team have over 20 years’ experience, having worked for previous owners of the factory, GSK, Boots and H J Heinz, Kendal Nutricare has other plan in the pipeline, which will demonstrate its capabilities of developing products for the whole of the life cycle.

It will shortly be launching ‘Kendalife’ – a formulated nutrition drink that can be used as a meal, exercise and energy supplement, packed with 20 grams of protein, 24 vitamins and minerals and 3g of fibre and containing 220 calories. The product comes in three flavours: Mango and Passionfruit; Strawberry and Vanilla and Vegetable. These contain 100 per cent natural fruits in the fruit varieties and 100 per cent natural vegetables in the vegetable drink.

Kendal Nutricare’s CEO, Ross McMahon, says: ‘Kendal Nutricare has focused on the core skills of its experienced and dynamic work force to create, and bring to market, products that a less specialised team simply could not formulate. Our factory is a former H J Heinz ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the manufacture of infant foods, so we have in-depth knowledge of how to create and manufacture infant products, coupled with a desire to shake up the market and drive home the nutritional message that whole milk is a better basis for an infant formula than the skimmed milk currently being used in the products adopted by parents following breast-feeding.

“We also have a pharmaceutical research team that is dedicated to innovating and bringing new products to market and passionate about giving British and overseas consumers, at all stages of the life cycle, something fresh, different and nutritionally richer than their existing product choices. For all these reasons, Kendal Nutricare is likely to be one of the most talked about innovators within the FMCG and medical sectors for many years to come.”