Chinese MARA approval of FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ 2’-FL production strain brings prebiotics portfolio closer to launch

A combination of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) could potential deliver gut health benefits in early life nutrition

Manufacturers of infant milk formula in China will soon be able to access a unique range of prebiotic ingredients, following the approval of FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ production strain of 2’-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL). The green light from China’s MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) will allow Aequival 2’-FL, a human milk oligosaccharide ingredient*, to be launched in the country’s early life nutrition (ELN) market.

“Final nutrition fortifier” approval of Aequival 2’-FL will mean FrieslandCampina Ingredients will soon become the only provider of both human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) in China. This united proposition is appealing to brand owners in the ELN sector thanks to the complementary benefits the two types of oligosaccharide may offer when combined.

“This is great news both for us and for our Chinese customers – current and future,” stated Cindy Zhao, general manager, FrieslandCampina Ingredients China, on the announcement. “The Chinese market has very specific circumstances that a combined GOS & HMO offering is the ideal response to. Here, health benefits are a significant priority for people selecting an infant milk formula: approximately 90% of parents say they are looking for them. For instance, gut health is a priority for 80% of parents of young children, and emerging scientific research is shedding a light on the gut health benefits that prebiotics like GOS and HMOs may have.”

Scientists from FrieslandCampina Ingredients have explored the possible benefits of combining GOS and 2’-FL, inspired by the variety and diversity of structures that exist in human milk. For instance, in vitro research has shown that these two types of oligosaccharide stimulate the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium longum in a species-specific manner.1 This suggests here is a clear opportunity for Chinese infant milk formula brands to respond directly to parental concerns about gut health. Nearly 30% of Chinese parents already recognise that prebiotics are beneficial in this area.2

2’-FL is an ingredient found in an increasing number of infant milk formula products in other parts of the world, and is trusted by brand owners to deliver health benefits in infancy thanks to a growing body of research showing its value to infant health.

“From the point of final approval, Chinese customers will be able to purchase GOS and 2’-FL from one trusted and experienced supplier with a long heritage in the Chinese infant nutrition market,” Zhao continued. “In doing so, they can increase the diversity of oligosaccharide structures in their formulations and thereby unlock exciting new opportunities to differentiate their products, add more value for consumers and attract more parents to their brands.”

* Not from human milk


1 Lindner C, Looijesteijn E, Dijck H van, et al. Infant Fecal Fermentations with Galacto-Oligosaccharides and 2′-Fucosyllactose Show Differential Bifidobacterium longum Stimulation at Subspecies Level. Children. 2023;10(3):430. doi:10.3390/children100304

2 Gibson GR, et al. (2017) The scientific definition of a prebiotic is “A substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Aug;14(8):491-502.