Aussie Bubs expands in US with clean-label toddler milks as purity of domestic baby food is scrutinized
Late last month, the 15-year-old Australian company launched its Goat Milk-based Toddler Formula and its 365-Day Grass Fed Cow Milk Toddler Formula in the US under the brand Aussie Bubs – first on its own e-commerce site, aussiebubs.com, and Amazon.com, and then later on Walmart.com.
The launch is part of a broader effort to rebuild the brand by expanding its global footprint, but it is also well-timed to provide an option that meets the Clean Label Project’s highest standard at a time when US caregivers are worried about a recent Congressional report that found heavy metals in baby food.
“When we were thinking about launching in the US, I told the team we need to be careful of California’s Prop 65. We didn’t want to trigger those warnings,” which could scare away parents from trying a new brand, Bubs chairman Dennis Lin told FoodNavigator-USA.
“So, we sent our products to all these different labs in the United States to make sure we were well and truly clear of Prop 65, and when we got in touch and were tested by the Clean Label Purity Project and awarded the Clean Label Purity Award, the feedback we received from the lab was that this is cleanest milk powder they have ever seen,” Lin said.
Direct sourcing, no additives & minimal processing helps keep products clean
Lin explained that Bubs was able to achieve this award because it sources only the purest ingredients directly through its vertically integrated supply chain, doesn’t add ‘fillers,’ and it processes its products once – not twice like many competitors – which reduces the risk of contamination.
For example, he said, Aussie Bub’s 365-day Grass Fed Cow Milk toddler is sourced from New Zealand, where the temperate climate allows the cows to graze on grass all year. This grass-fed diet translates to milk that is richer in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta-carotene and CLA compared to other milks, according to the company.
The 365-day Grass Fed Cow Milk toddler formula also features prebiotics, probiotics, algae-sourced DHA, vitamins and minerals, but skips the ingredients that some parents don’t want – such as palm oil, corn syrup, maltodextrin, growth hormones, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, pesticides, colors or preservatives, according to the company.
Aussie Bub’s goat milk formula is held to the same high standards and sourced from Australia, where the company says goat milk is held to strict rules and regulations and allows for the delivery of fresher ingredients. Like the cow milk, the goat milk is fortified with DHA, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals and not unwanted “nasties,” according to the company.
In addition to touting the Clean Label Purity Award, the cow milk formula is dual certified organic through Australia Certified Organic and National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia.
He also noted that Aussie Bubs’ unique manufacturing process offers caretakers another layer of safety assurance and a higher quality finished product than competitors.
He explained many manufacturers will spray dry the milk they use as a base for the formula as soon as they source it and then save it up to two years before reconstituting it, blending it with other ingredients and spray drying it again to make the finished formula powder.
Aussie Bubs, however, immediately blends the fresh milk that is the base of its formulas with other key ingredients and spray dries it only once – resulting in a finished product that tastes fresh, smells cleaner and is creamier because it is less processed.
By cutting out the second round of spray dry processing, Aussie Bubs also reduces the risk of contamination.
“The less handling the better,” Lin emphasized.
More products to come
Even though Aussie Bubs two toddler formulas are just hitting the US, Lin said the company plans to eventually bring Bubs’ whole line of baby and toddler formulas and snacks to the market.
“Bubs in our home country has 40 SKUs catering to children mostly during the first 1,000 days,” including infant formulas, cereals, supplements and more in addition to the toddler formulas, Lin said.
He noted that Bubs is in the process of getting US FDA approval for the infant formula to be sold in the US, although he noted this is taking longer than originally anticipated, which is why the company decided to launch the toddler milks first.
Starting with toddler milks also allows the company more wiggle room in terms of brand building and marketing because they are not as tightly regulated from an advertising perspective as infant formula, he added.
Finally, Lin said, the company also hopes to win American caregivers’ trust by fully and transparently disclosing the state of its business as a publicly listed company on Australia’s stock market.
“We have nothing to hide … and I think it’s important for the consumer to have additional sense of credibility about our business and culture” so they can feel confident our products are the best choice for their children, Lin said.