Parents worldwide have turned to HiPP to meet their baby formula needs and for good reason; they're a family-run company that has been crafting some of the highest quality baby food on the market for over a century now.
HiPP is best known for its Bio Combiotic certified organic formula range which comes in three versions, German, Dutch, and UK. Are you wondering why HiPP's baby formulas are made differently for different countries?
Well, it's an excellent question with a fairly straightforward answer. To ensure that parents have access to organic milk that suits their baby's needs, HiPP adapts their formulas according to country-specific preferences and legal regulations.
But no matter which version you choose, you can feel confident in knowing that all HiPP formulas are certified organic by the European Union. That means all are free of GMOs, refined sugars such as corn syrup, artificial preservatives, pesticides, and hormones.
Instead, HiPP uses clean organic ingredients sourced from farms that prioritize animal welfare and environmental sustainability. You can find important ingredients such as organic vegetable oils, fish oil, vitamin D, and linoleic acid in HiPP's various baby formulas.
If you'd like to take a deeper dive into what makes HiPP German, Dutch, and UK unique, scroll down for a comprehensive guide to and comparison of each of these baby formulas!
What Kinds of Carbohydrates are Used in HiPP Baby Formula?
HiPP formulas are modeled after breast milk to bring your little one a milk formula that is as close to nature as it gets. Like breast milk, all of HiPP's formulas contain lactose, regardless of the country version.
Lactose is natural milk sugar and the main carbohydrate source found in breast milk. Not only is lactose an important energy source for babies, but it also helps to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Because of the beneficial nature of lactose, the following HiPP formulas use lactose as the only carbohydrate source (a.k.a, these formulas are starch-free)...
HiPP German Stage PRE Infant Formula
HiPP German Stage 2 No Starch
HiPP German Stage 1+
HiPP German Stage 2+
All HiPP Dutch formulas
All HiPP UK formulas
The HiPP organic German formula line is unique in that starch is added as a secondary carbohydrate in stages 1 through 3 (except for stage 2 no starch).
Some parents opt for a starch-free formula as their goal is to stay as close to breastmilk as possible. However, sometimes this preference stems from confusion surrounding babies' ability to handle complex carbohydrates such as starch.
Well, in 1975, Italian scientists studied 1 to 3-month-old babies' capacity to digest starch; this study showed that most babies (even in their first few months of life) can digest small amounts of starch a-okay. Babies that received between 1 tablespoon and ½ of a cup of starch per day were found to digest more than 99% of it!
As for the starch that doesn’t get digested, it undergoes microbial fermentation in the colon. The result of this process is the creation of short-chain fatty acids which can enhance nutrient absorption, improve gut health, and provide babies with a valuable energy source.
So what exactly is starch and why is it added to baby formula? Starch is a type of complex carbohydrate composed of many glucose molecules bound together. All of these bonds mean starches take longer to be absorbed and digested. This slowed digestion process, in turn, ensures that blood sugar levels don't spike.
Starch is added to some HiPP formulas to help make them creamier. The smooth creamy texture of this organic milk is sometimes better tolerated by picky babies. And, because starch takes longer to digest, some babies may feel more satiated after feedings!
That being said, every baby is unique so not all babies will respond well to starch in their formula. For babies that are less tolerant of starch or for parents looking to keep things lactose only, HiPP has a range of starch-free baby formula options!
Differences in Terms of Prebiotics & Probiotics
We understand that you want the absolute best formula for your little one, and the prebiotics in HiPP's products have earned them a gold star in our books! Prebiotics are a core ingredient in all of the HiPP German, Dutch, and UK formulas. In these baby formulas, you'll find galactooligosaccharides (GOS) which are a prebiotic fiber derived from organic lactose.
GOS is naturally present in breast milk and it's known to be great for the gut! When your baby drinks a HiPP formula with prebiotics, the undigested GOS makes its way into their large intestine serving as food for beneficial intestinal bacteria and thus contributing to the growth of healthy intestinal flora.
Some HiPP formulas go the extra mile to include probiotics in addition to prebiotics, you'll find both of these in all of the HiPP German and Dutch baby formulas. However, in the UK version, you'll only find prebiotics.
So what are probiotics and what makes them so beneficial to your baby's health? Probiotics are essentially good microorganisms that colonize our guts to improve our wellbeing. In HiPP formulas you'll find lactobacillus fermentum hereditum®, which are natural probiotic lactic acid cultures originally extracted from real breast milk!
Probiotics are like tiny superheroes, by including them in formula-fed babies' diets, they can ensure your little one has a healthy immune system. They've been known to help boost immune response, prevent eczema, and reduce colic!
Do Any of HiPP's Formulas Contain Soy?
If you've already done some prior research, then you may have stumbled across some blog posts claiming that some of the stages of HiPP German Bio Combiotic contain soy. This misconception stems from the emulsifier lecithin that's found in HiPP German stages 2 and 3 which people have wrongfully assumed is sourced from soy.
To bust this myth, we asked HiPP's parent service line, made up of 19 nutritionists and mothers, about where exactly the lecithin used in HiPP’s baby formulas comes from. The good news is that they told us that it's organic sunflower lecithin, not soy!
That meansall of the HiPP Bio Combiotic formulas, including the German version, are soy-free.
Seeing "emulsifier lecithin" on an ingredients list may look a little concerning, and with no further information, it's reasonable that this would ring some alarm bells for parents. But when it comes to organic sunflower lecithin, there's nothing to fear. It's commonly used in baby formula to help stabilize and thicken the milk.
Lecithin is a fatty substance naturally found in sunflowers as well as other food and animal products. All forms of lecithin offer health benefits but sunflower lecithin is thought to be particularly nutritious. It's rich in important vitamins and minerals, and it's the only GMO-free source of lecithin that is low in allergens!
Some research suggests that regular lecithin consumption may aid digestion, boost brain function, improve skin health, lower cholesterol, and even help with breastfeeding. While lecithin supplements have been associated with some unwanted side effects, naturally occurring lecithin from foods like sunflowers does not pose a health risk.
So there you have it, if you're looking for some soy-free organic formulas, any of HiPP's Bio Combiotic milk will do the trick!
Differences in Terms of Whey Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient found in baby formula. It's vital to proper growth, development, and immunity. Protein is made up of amino acids which are important building blocks for our cells, tissues, enzymes, and hormones.
When it comes to milk, you can find two main types of protein: whey and casein. Whey is a more easily digested protein often used in early-stage infant formula (for example, in formula stage 1 or PRE) because it's better tolerated by young babies and it may help to reduce tummy troubles.
In human breast milk, the ratio of whey to casein changes throughout lactation, with a higher proportion of whey early on that becomes more equal with time. More specifically breast milk starts at around 80:20 whey to casein which then changes to 60:40 and eventually becomes an even 50:50.
To help account for this natural decline in breast milk’s whey protein content, HiPP optimally adjusts the protein levels of their baby formula in accordance with your baby's age. While sufficient protein intake in infancy is essential, too much too early on can negatively impact your baby's health and increase their risk of obesity.
So it's important for your baby to receive high-quality protein in the right proportion for their age. To make sure that's the case, most of HiPP's baby formulas are made with certified organic whey.
However, in some of their later-stage milk formula, HiPP has opted for age-appropriate reduced protein content. That means while all of HiPP's infant formula contain whey, some of their follow-on formulas drop whey protein altogether. You can find out exactly which of HiPP's formulas are whey-free below...
HiPP Dutch Stage 3
HiPP UK Stage 3
HiPP German Stage 1+
HiPP German Stage 2+
Differences in Terms of Folate
Folate is an important part of your baby's diet and a major player in their health beginning during pregnancy and lasting well into early childhood. What makes folate so special you ask?
It's a natural form of vitamin B9 that can be found in breast milk and it performs a whole host of important jobs for our bodies. It's essential in promoting normal growth and development, it's needed for basic cell function, and it's a part of our DNA and RNA synthesis.
Since it's super important to your baby's well-being, all HiPP Dutch, UK, and German formulas contain folate in one form or another. However, their German baby formula is unique in that its source of folate comes from Metafolin® rather than the folic acid used in both the HiPP Dutch and UK versions.
We know how similar folate, folic acid, and Metafolin® sound and while they are similar there are important differences worthy of note. Basically, Metafolin® and folic acid are both a form of folate, but folic acid is a synthetic version while Metafolin® is not.
The major benefit of Metafolin® is that it has greater bioavailability which allows your baby to metabolize it immediately unlike folic acid which has to be converted into folate by the body first before it can be used.
Although Metafolin® can be used immediately, HiPP's entire formula range (German, Dutch, and UK) are all made according to strict nutritional standards set out by the EU and as such, all are a valuable and important source of folate for your little one!
Differences in Terms of Packaging
Although there are slight variations in the kinds of packaging used by HiPP, no matter which version you're considering, you can feel good about supporting a company that is committed to reducing its impact on the planet.
That's why in addition to using climate-neutral production plants within the European Union, HiPP has made great strides in terms of offering sustainable packaging options for their certified organic formulas.
Whenever possible HiPP uses minimal packaging, recyclable materials, and increases the recyclability of their products. When it comes to their packaging, HiPP states that "97 percent of all waste can now be recycled"!
HiPP's folding boxes (used for their German and UK Formulas) have lower CO2 emissions than their tin cans (used for HiPP Dutch formulas). Plus, the graphics on these boxes are made using vegetable oil-based printing ink which is mineral oil-free!
The cardboard used to make these boxes is also Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)-certified meaning that responsibly sourced wood fiber is used to make the paper.
Here's a quick breakdown of how packaging varies according to HiPP's country version...
Container Type: Tin cans
Container Type: FSC®-certified paper boxes
Container Type: FSC®-certified paper boxes
Differences in Terms of Production Site
All of HiPP's baby formula, including HiPP Dutch and UK, are manufactured in Germany. The only difference between these products is that while HiPP German is both manufactured and packaged in Germany, HiPP Dutch and UK are both manufactured in Germany but packaged in the Netherlands and United Kingdom respectively.
Germany has much higher standards for organic formulas compared to North American countries. Not only that but HiPP actually goes above and beyond the organic standards set out by the European Union to bring your little one the highest quality milk possible!
They exclusively source their milk from farms that fully comply with organic farming guidelines. That means that their grass-fed cows are free to graze in meadows that aren't contaminated by harmful fertilizers. Once the milk is harvested, it undergoes even stricter quality checks than required by law.
Independent institutions test their products for over 1000 harmful substances to bring your baby a safe quality tested formula. HiPP is free of GMOs, artificial colors and preservatives, and flavor enhancers like corn syrup. HiPP's commitment to organic quality milk and high safety standards makes their Bio Combiotic line some of the best formula out there!
That was plenty of information to take in so to jog your memory, we'll give you the important takeaways in a nutshell...
HiPP has adapted their best-selling Bio Combiotic formulas according to country-specific preferences and legal regulations. All of these formulas are made with quality EU organic ingredients so you don't need to worry about any icky ingredients like GMOs, refined sugars such as corn syrup, artificial preservatives, pesticides, and hormones.
All HiPP formulas contain lactose, the main carbohydrate found in breast milk. However, starch is added as a secondary source of carbs in German stages 1 through 3, with the exception of stage 2 no starch. In other words, HiPP UK and Dutch are completely starch-free. Starch is a complex carbohydrate added to higher stage formulas to make babies' milk more creamy and satiating.
HiPP's formulas are special because all of them contain prebiotics but their Dutch and German formulas also contain probiotics. Prebiotics and probiotics are both naturally found in breast milk and are an important part of supporting gut health and digestion for a happy baby.
Importantly, none of HiPP's baby formula contains soy. As an alternative to soy lecithin, HiPP uses organic sunflower lecithin in their German stages 2 and 3 to help stabilize and thicken the milk, this lecithin has also been associated with a range of health benefits!
To ensure that older babies and toddlers are receiving an appropriate serving of protein for their age, HiPP excludes whey in their Dutch and UK stage 3 and German stage 1+ and 2+ follow-on formulas.
While all HiPP's baby formula contains the ever-important nutrient folate, where exactly this vitamin is sourced changes depending on the country version. The German version uses a more bioavailable form known as Metafolin® and the Dutch and UK versions stick to the more common folic acid.
Finally, all of HiPP's formulas are made in Germany and packaged in an eco-friendly manner. HiPP Dutch and UK are packaged in the Netherlands and United Kingdom respectively in 800g containers. HiPP German is packed in Germany and comes in 600g containers. HiPP German along with the UK version are packed in FSC®-certified paper boxes, unlike HiPP Dutch which comes in tin cans.
So there you have it, parents, a complete rundown on all the ways that HiPP German, Dutch, and UK are similar and different but all great nonetheless!
Please be aware that this information is based on general trends evidenced in babies, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula, and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician prior to making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
Disclaimer: Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.