Switzerland - A country known for superior quality goods such as Swiss chocolate, cheese and luxury products. But just as importantly, for breathtaking scenery with beautiful mountains, bright green grazing lands, crystal clear streams and turquoise lakes. This abundance of grass and water makes for ideal dairy farming conditions. Milk products of impeccable quality are produced here. But what exactly makes dairy from Switzerland so special and desired by people all around the world? Keep reading to find out!
Switzerland does not have a national animal, but if it did it would be the cow. It's like the trademark of Switzerland. Cows are at home in every region of the country and there is big diversity in breeds1. Switzerland being a country of abundant grass and water is what makes it the perfect home to farm animals and to dairy agriculture. Over two-thirds of agricultural land (70.1% as of 2017) in Switzerland is grassland2. These grasslands in the hills are perfectly suited for farming of cattle, as they offer profound amounts of fresh feed. Almost all feed for Swiss cows actually comes from Switzerland itself and most of this is natural coarse fodder (meaning grass, hay, maize, etc), which should be free of GMOs and as of 2017 free of palm oil. This means Swiss cows get fed with the best food appropriate for their species, which grows in vast amounts in the beautiful Swiss landscape. Since Switzerland is a comparably small country, it is characterized by short transport distances and regional production and processing, keeping the product always as fresh as possible.
The average farmer in Switzerland owns 26 animals3. This means that large, corporation-owned farms are rare in Switzerland. Rather, most farms are run by families which treat their animals with respect and provide living conditions appropriate to the species. Over the years, Swiss dairy farmers have perfected their practice to such an extent that nowadays the dairy production per cow can yield almost 50% more than 30 years ago4. This does not mean that cattle is being exploited. On the contrary: Improved feeding and breeding conditions aswell as high-level detailed knowledge of the farmers and focus on health and long life of the cattle increase efficiency in production. Swiss farmers and their families build relationships with their animals, caring for each and every animal personally and making sure they are happy, healthy and well nourished. Most cows grazing on Swiss meadows have a name given to them by the farmers, which shows that they are personally recognized and cared for.
Animal welfare in Switzerland is one of the main reasons why consumers love to purchase Swiss dairy products and meat. Happy animals make consumers happy. The regulations on animal welfare in Switzerland are among the strictest in the world. The Swiss Federal Act of Animal Protection establishes the well-being of farm animals through regulations for proper keeping arrangements, feeding, care and housing among many other factors 2. For example, it requires that animals be kept and fed in such a way that animal behavior, hygiene and nutrition comply with the needs of the species. This includes freedom of movement in enclosures as their species requires, and receiving immediate care when sick or injured. Animal attendants must receive at least 12 months of practical training in a recognized training establishment on the keeping and proper care of the species they are attending to. After finishing the training they must prove their knowledge in an examination under the supervision of the Federal Veterinary Office. Section 2 of the Swiss Federal Act of Animal Protection is directed specifically at cattle farming. It lays out specific requirements on proper calf feeding and housing, the provision of appropriate lying areas for all cattle, regular free movement of cattle in stanchion systems and for conditions in loose housing.
Many farmers in Switzerland do even more than the strict Animal Welfare Act requires. The country has various voluntary animal welfare programs and labels in which many farms partake. For example, 90% of dairy farms already take part in the ROEL program, which ensures regular outdoor exercise for livestock 6. This program ensures that cows spend at least 26 days per month in the open air between May and October and at least 13 days between November and April 3. Furthermore, over 95 % of Swiss dairy farms comply with the proof of ecological performance (PER) requirement, which is the Swiss agricultural standard for environmentally-friendly production with regulations concerning animal husbandry, fertilizer use, ecological compensation areas, soil protection and regular crop rotation 3. Another important certification and big step for the dairy industry in Switzerland is Swissmilk Green. As of September 2019, it labels dairy products that were produced sustainably according to various strict conditions 7.
Swiss dairy products are safe and hygienic, which is ensured by strict controls. Out of almost half a million random Swiss dairy samples analyzed for germ content in 2017, 99.93% were impeccable3. This is an outstanding outcome compared to international results. This safe, sanitary and germ-free condition is in part thanks to the ban of performance boosting hormones and antibiotics for animals in Switzerland. Furthermore, authorities strictly control sanitary animal keeping and hygienic processing operations.
Healthy cows grazing on vast green landscapes sounds like something from a picture book, but in Switzerland, this is reality. The cows are being cared for and respected by the farmers while strict animal welfare regulations make sure they get treated, housed and fed appropriately. Being fed with fresh feed that is coming straight from the Swiss countryside, they receive the best possible nutrition and therefore make high class milk. Not only is the milk produced by healthy cows that are cared for, but it undergoes strict safety controls, making sure the consumers only receives products of impeccable condition.
Loulouka is a rather new face on the European organic baby formula market, having commenced selling milk formula in 2019. Where other formula brands have been in the industry for decades, Loulouka baby formula brings some fresh wind and new ideas. It is a company founded by parents with many years of experience in the formula business. They were striving to create a superior quality formula for the well-being of their children, with the best ingredients they could find. Now you may ask yourself what precisely differentiates Loulouka from other successful European organic infant formula companies, such as HiPP and Holle. What does their vision of the best possible formula involve? The answer is simple enough: Swiss milk!
Loulouka is a Dutch formula brand, however they source all milk for their formula from organic Swiss agriculture and produce in Switzerland. They believe that the Swiss dairy standard truly stands out and is best fit for their vision of creating the finest possible organic baby formula. The cows that produce milk for Loulouka formula are primarily natural grass and hay fed and can roam freely in the Swiss Alps. Strict regulations ensure that the cows and the environment in which they live are treated with respect and care. The same is true for the milk during the entire production process. It undergoes more than 50 quality checks to ensure that it is fit to meet Loulouka's high quality standards.
They used to produce their formula with whole milk, however have just recently switched to production with skimmed milk. The reason for this is that fat levels in whole milk fluctuate with every batch depending on season and feed, making production more complicated and fat levels harder to adjust. With skimmed milk as a base, they were able to optimize the process and high quality standards and can create the same fat level and fatty acid profile in the formula every time with the help of fish and vegetable oil. This is according to European and Swiss regulations. With regard to total fat, fatty acid profile, DHA amount, protein content and the whey:casein ratio, the recipes are optimally formulated to meet the needs of the respective age group and the legal requirements for formula8.
Not only does Loulouka source its high class milk from Swiss farms, there is something else that's setting this manufacturer of baby formula apart: They refrain from using palm oil, which most baby formula manufacturers use as part of a vegetable oil combination to mimic the fatty acid profile of human breast milk. Most companies use this because it is the "go-to" oil that is easy to source and comparably cheap. Instead of palm oil, Loulouka formula differentiates itself by using coconut oil. Where palm oil plantations often get exploited and are the cause for extreme deforestation, the organically produced coconut oil used in Loulouka baby formula is a more sustainable option.
Loulouka uses sunflower lecithin in their baby formula. Lecithin is an emulsifier that is a source of essential fatty acids and choline (a nutrient that supports various bodily functions)9. Many formula brands use lecithin derived from soy, specifically soybean oil. Soy lecithin is cheaper, however, there are multiple problems with soy (especially in baby formula), as it is an allergen and often genetically modified. Therefore the use of lecithin derived from sunflower oil makes the formula much safer and more appropriate, as sunflowers are usually organic, not modified and allergies are very rare. Of course, the purest ingredient choice is best when it comes to baby formula and the health of babies.
Loulouka baby formula holds the European organic certification. This way, not only does every step in the production process follow the Swiss regulations for animal welfare and processing of the ingredients, but also the strict guidelines for organic agriculture and production of the EU. Finished products with the European organic label have fulfilled strict conditions on how they must be produced, processed, transported and stored10. These regulations are stricter than those that American formulas have to follow. For example, European organic agriculture has to have an as limited environmental impact as possible, encouraging the responsible use of energy and natural resources, the maintenance of biodiversity and the enhancement of soil fertility among many other factors11. Further, there are no GMOs or hormones allowed, and use of artificial fertilizers and antibiotics is strictly limited12. Animal and plant health must be ensured and maintained, and all livestock must be fed with 100% organic feed which should primarily be derived from the own farm or region. Only natural methods of reproduction and no artificial insemination are allowed and number of livestock must be limited to ensure proper living conditions for all livestock.
Furthermore, apart from the organic certification, the European Union forbids the use of refined sugars, synthetic preservatives and synthetic nutrients in baby formulas.
The European Union certified organic formula has been created to give your baby the best possible nutrition and high class ingredients. Stemming from Swiss organic farms, the base for this infant formula is among the highest standard cow milk in the world. As the formula is made in Switzerland, Loulouka follows strict Swiss production regulations and undergoes more than 50 quality checks. All ingredients are organically sourced and good for newborns and babies. The formula supplies your baby with the best possible age appropriate nutrition, containing all vitamins and minerals important at this stage of your child's life. Not containing soy, palm oil or critical substances such as corn syrup, Loulouka differentiates itself further from other organic baby formulas. The use of organic coconut oil makes them stand out from other baby formula brands, as it is a more sustainable option than the usual palm oil.
Loulouka formula comes in 3 stages: Stage 1 for newborns up to 6 months of age, stage 2 for 6-10 months, and stage 3 after 10 months. Every stage is carefully adjusted according to the nutritional needs of your baby in this stage of life.
All in all, you can be sure that Loulouka baby formula is a good option for you and your infant. If the superior nature of Swiss milk isn't convincing enough, the strong vision of Loulouka creators to produce the best organic formula with the finest ingredients should make you feel reassured! Loulouka is definitely among the best organic formulas in Europe.
Loulouka stage 1 formula is a lactose-based formula that is appropriate for newborns and recommended to use up to an age of 6 months. It's base is Swiss organic cows milk (skimmed, used to be whole milk). Furthermore, it's ingredients list contains a combination of organic vegetable oils to reproduce the fatty acid profile of human breast milk. These include sunflower, rapeseed and coconut oil (instead of palm oil). The emulsifier lecithin from sunflower supplies choline, and refined fish oil supplies Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for healthy brain development. All important minerals at this stage of life are part of this formula in appropriate amounts, such as iron, calcium and magnesium. This counts for vitamins aswell: Loulouka stage 1 contains vitamin A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12, C, D, E and K. Loulouka stage 1 does not contain any potential critical ingredients such as refined sugars, corn syrup or soy.
Loulouka stage 2 organic formula is appropriate for your baby after 6 months of life. Just as stage 1, it's base is Swiss organic cows milk (skimmed, used to be whole milk) and all other main ingredients remain the same, however adjusted in content to the age: It contains a combination of organic vegetable oils to reproduce the fatty acid profile of human breast milk. These include sunflower, rapeseed and coconut oil (instead of palm oil). The emulsifier lecithin from sunflower supplies choline, and refined fish oil supplies Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for healthy brain development. All important minerals at this stage of life are part of this formula in appropriate amounts, such as iron, calcium and magnesium. This counts for vitamins aswell: Loulouka stage 2 contains vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E, K and biotin. Loulouka stage 2 does not contain any potential critical ingredients such as refined sugars, corn syrups or soy. Other than stage 1, stage 2 contains an age-appropriate amount of maltodextrin as a source of energy.
Loulouka stage 3 formula is appropriate for your baby after the 10th month of life. Just as stage 1 and 2, it's base is Swiss organic cows milk (skimmed, used to be whole milk) and all other main ingredients remain the same, however adjusted in content to the age: It contains a combination of organic vegetable oils to reproduce the fatty acid profile of human breast milk. These include sunflower, rapeseed and coconut oil (instead of palm oil). The emulsifier lecithin from sunflower supplies choline, and refined fish oil supplies Omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for healthy brain development. All important minerals at this stage of life are part of this formula in appropriate amounts, such as iron, calcium and magnesium. This counts for vitamins aswell: Loulouka stage 2 contains vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E, K and biotin. Loulouka stage 3 does not contain any potential critical ingredients such as refined sugars, corn syrup or soy. Just as stage 2, stage 3 contains an age-appropriate amount of maltodextrin as a source of energy.
Some parents from the US worry about the safety of Loulouka formula, as it is not FDA approved. In fact, no European baby formulas are FDA approved. However this is not due to a lack of quality or nutrition factor. Rather, the FDA can only give approval for products that are manufactured in the US. Therefore, EU formula cannot receive FDA approval. However, European laws and regulations concerning formula and European organic regulations are much stricter than those of the FDA. Therefore, there is no reason to be worried about Loulouka formula lacking FDA approval. As explained above in the "EU organic" section, you can be sure that the formula is produced under strict regulations and controls. Furthermore, legislation of the EU and the respective countries (like Switzerland / the Netherlands for Loulouka) ensures the best possible nutrition, always up to date and according to newest research and standards. An example of this is the requirement as of 2020 of the EU that all baby formula must contain DHA13, which is a source of Omega 3 and helps with healthy brain and eye development. There is no such specification for US formula. This is just one of various examples of the stricter regulations for European products.
1Animals - Swiss Farmers(https://en.agriculture.ch/knowledge-and-facts/animals/)
2Landwirtschaft und Ernährung - Bundesamt für Statistik (https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/de/home/statistiken/land-forstwirtschaft/ernaehrung.assetdetail.13127966.html)
3The Economic Importance and the Benefits of Swiss Milk (https://api.swissmilk.ch/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/brochure-economic-importance-benefits-swiss-milk-2019-en.pdf)
4Das Schwinden der Milchkühe: Bestand erreicht historischen Tiefpunkt (https://www.luzernerzeitung.ch/wirtschaft/das-schwinden-der-milchkuehe-bestand-erreicht-historischen-tiefpunkt-ld.1152825)
5 Swiss Animal Protection Ordenance (https://www.animallaw.info/statute/switzerland-cruelty-swiss-animal-protection-ordinance)
6Animal Welfare - Swiss Farmers (https://en.agriculture.ch/knowledge-and-facts/production/animal-welfare/)
7Nachhaltigkeit an erster Stelle (https://www.swissmilk.ch/de/schweizer-milch/swissmilk-green/nachhaltigkeit-an-erster-stelle/)
8 FAQ - Loulouka (https://loulouka.nl/en/faq/)
9What is Sunflower Lecithin? (https://maxinesheavenly.com/blogs/maxines-heavenly/what-is-sunflowerlecithin#:~:text=Sunflower%20lecithin%20is%20made%20by,used%20to%20make%20olive%20oil.)
10 The Organic Logo - European Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/farming/organic-farming/organic-logo_en)
11Organics at a Glance - European Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/farming/organic-farming/organics-glance_en)
12 Organic Production and Products (https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/farming/organic-farming/organic-production-and-products_en)
13 Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) for infant formula and follow-on formula and as regards requirements on information relating to infant and young child feeding. (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32016R0127)