Having gained a dominant position in the US, where its blend of DHA and ARA is present in more than 95 percent of infant formula products, Martek is targeting international markets.
The multi-year agreement signed with Fonterra is the first such deal that the company has signed with the leading dairy co-operative. Martek spokesperson Cassie France-Kelly told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the agreement represents its first major foray into the Asian market.
Fonterra will be featuring DHA and ARA from Martek in infant formula products in Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. The New Zealand-based dairy firm will also use Martek’s DHA in its Anmum Materna products in Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and China.
France-Kelly said there is potential for significant growth in Asia, and that this would be “an area of emphasis” for Martek going forward. She said that there is growing awareness of DHA in the Asian markets, and that understanding is often better than in some areas of Europe.
Naturally present in human breast milk, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) are fatty acids important for infant development and growth.
Martek said clinical studies have demonstrated numerous benefits of receiving DHA and ARA in infant formula, including improved mental and visual development. The company also claims that DHA supplementation by mothers during pregnancy and nursing enhance levels of DHA available to the foetus and infant, with positive consequences for hand-eye coordination, motor skills and attention span.