Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada -- October 5th,
2020 -- ELSE
NUTRITION HOLDINGS INC. (TSX-V: BABY) (OTCQB: 1BABYF) (FSE:
Mom and Dad sip their oat milk lattes at the local coffee bar, they
may well be fretting over what's in their toddler's
many toddlers can't tolerate cow's milk or soy products, it hasn't
been easy for discerning parents to find a formula that is both
clean-label and plant-based—without GMOs, corn syrup or harsh
Perhaps until now. Three
Israeli veterans of the infant nutrition business are offering
"something else" as they say on their website. Hamutal Yitzhak,
Uriel Kesler and Michael Azar, cofounders of Else Nutrition GH
Ltd., spent seven years developing and perfecting a patented
dairy-free, plant-based toddler formula for ages 1 to 3.
cofounders officially launched their Tel Aviv-based startup in 2019
and just rolled out their first product, Plant-Based Complete
Nutrition for Toddlers in August.
USDA-certified organic, powdered formula features almond butter,
buckwheat flour and tapioca, and it is fortified with over 20
vitamins and minerals. One serving has five grams of protein, 30%
of a child's daily calcium requirement and just three grams of
Else's cofounders are
betting their product will be a game-changer for children with
lactose intolerance and other food sensitivities. They also expect
to appeal to a broader audience of health-conscious families, who
may follow plant-based or flexitarian diets themselves.
Toddler nutrition is just
the start for Else. Next year, the company plans to introduce a
nutritional drink for children, aged 3 to 12, which would compete
against such brands as PediaSure. But its
biggest breakthrough may come around 2022, when Else hopes to roll
out a plant-based infant formula that replicates the nutritional
properties of breast milk.
Else is a new plant-based formula for toddlers, which is designed
to supplement their solid food diet.
doesn't hurt that plant-based dairy alternatives for adults are
already a booming business. The market is
reach $21.5 billion by 2024. And investors have been
pouring big bucks into companies such as Swedish oat milk
maker Oatly, which landed
million investment in July,
led by Blackstone Growth and including such star studded investors
as Oprah Winfrey and former Starbucks SBUX -0.2% CEO Howard
Still, think back seven
years— a lifetime ago in the plant-based foods space, before
everyone was raving about pea-protein burgers that bleed. It wasn't
easy to convince people there was a market for plant-based infant
and toddler formulas, cofounder and CEO Hamutal Yitzhak, told me in
a recent phone chat from Tel Aviv.
we started, people were looking at us as if we were a bunch of
lunatics," she said. "They didn't understand what we were doing.
Cow's milk was considered the gold standard."
the cofounders knew from their years in the industry that dairy
milk doesn't work for many children. In particular, the experience
of Kesler's granddaughter inspired their quest for a viable
was severely allergic to cow's milk formula. She started losing
weight and rejecting any formula that was given to her, including
soy alternatives," said Yitzhak, who previously headed up Abbott
Nutrition's baby formula brand Similac in Israel and seen many such
"There were so many
intolerances and sensitivities and allergies, so I knew the
solution to this would come from a non-inflammatory source, which
would be plant-based," she said.
Ingredients label for Else's new plant-based toddler nutrition
Nutrition's cofounders started with a toddler formula because it
didn't require a complex approval process. But they
well aware that the holy grail for the
infant nutrition industry is creating a formula for babies under
1-year old that replicates human breast milk. (The $50 billion
global infant formula market is projected to
reach $109 billion by 2027. ) The company
is presently conducting clinical trials on its plant-based infant
formula and going through the necessary steps to get approval from
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Yitzhak said.
Competition is already
heating up. Conagen, a synthetic
biology company in Boston, has
developed a technique for
synthesizing lactoferrin, one of the key components of breast milk.
Another company, Biomilq, in North
Carolina, is attempting to culture human breast milk in the
laboratory and recently
raised $3.5 million from Bill Gates's
investment firm, Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Else Nutrition CEO Humatal Yitzhak spent years in the infant
formula business. The company's first product
is a plant-based toddler formula.
has assembled some 15 advisers, including former executives from
such companies as Mead Johnson, Abbott Nutrition and Plum Organics.
Other consultants hail from leading medical centers and academic
institutions, including Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical
School, and Schneider Children's Medical Center of
cofounders initially self-funded. "We invested everything we had,"
said Yitzhak. Revenue from a small toddler snacks-product company
she had started with Kesler helped to sustain them through their
long R & D phase.
Nutrition Holdings Inc., the company's parent, went public on the
Toronto stock exchange under the ticker symbol BABY in June 2019,
raising $7.5 million Canadian ($5.7 million USD). A subsequent
offering raised another $8 million Canadian ($6 million
And the company recently announced commencing a third, $18 million
Canadian ($13.7 million USD) offering for existing and new
investors. The stock also trades on the US OTC Markets QX board
under the trading symbol BABYF and on the Frankfurt Exchange under
the symbol 0YL.
company has a strategic investor from the infant nutrition industry
that had initially expressed interest in acquiring their business,
Yitzhak said. The cofounders decided they didn't want to be a niche
product for a major formula manufacturer and realized that going
public would give them the resources they needed to scale up
understood we needed to lead this company in the first few years,"
said Yitzhak. "We want to become a mainstream product."
company is selling its toddler formula in the North American market
through its website and hopes it
will soon be available through Amazon.com and other retailers. A
single can of Plant-Based Complete Nutrition costs $36 with the
current discount, and
17 servings. A four-pack is currently on sale for $136. If a
toddler consumes the recommended two servings a day, a can will
last just over a week. It is, Yitzhak conceded, a "premium
Entrepreneurial success, in
large part, is all about timing. And clearly the idea of
plant-based formulas doesn't seem "lunatic" at all these
do feel the great vibes of the parents who really anticipated this
for so long," Yitzhak said.
Robin D. Schatz
prize-winning business journalist and a weekend organic farmer in
the Hudson Valley. My adventures growing my own food led me to
start writing for Forbes in 2015
me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check
out my website.