The Difference Between American and European Formula And why Bobbie is the best of both worlds.

By Babe | Photos courtesy of Bobbie

When Rachel Stern was pregnant with her second child, she knew she wanted to breastfeed, but given her insane work schedule and very needy older toddler, she’d likely supplement with formula. However, in researching which formula she wanted to use – an organic brand sweetened only by lactose and one that had non-GMO ingredients – she kept coming up short.

“The more research I did, the more disheartened I felt in discovering what common American formulas are made of,” Rachel said. “I looked into European formulas, which fit what I wanted in terms of ingredients, but they’re actually illegal to order online and not FDA-regulated. So that didn’t feel like a solid choice, either.”

Just when Rachel had resigned herself to a year of ’round the clock nursing and pumping, she discovered Bobbie, a formula inspired by the European Union’s nutritional requirements for infant formula, yet still FDA-regulated and available in the United States.

“It was my ‘best of both worlds’ moment,” she said.

So how exactly does Bobbie bridge the transcontinental formula divide? Like many European formulas, Bobbie is organic, non-GMO, easy to digest, and meets EU standards for DHA (more on that in a sec). The Bobbie team – all moms, natch’ – handpicked each nutrient with the mindset that where the ingredient comes from is as important as its nutritional value. It uses premium organic ingredients sourced from reputable suppliers, thereby prioritizing local farms, family run businesses and small batch operations in the U.S.

“Like popular EU formulas, Bobbie is an organic infant formula that uses lactose as the only source of carbohydrates,” says Elieke Kearns, PhD, Registered Dietitian, and Medical Lead at Bobbie. “It’s easy to digest, and meets EU standards for DHA – an omega-3, a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid that is critical for infants rapid brain development.”

Really, it all comes down to ingredients. For example, Bobbie’s iron quantity meets the requirements for both the EU and the US range, whereas many US formulas contain way more iron than European versions. When it comes to carbohydrates and sugars, traditional US formulas vary, but many list corn syrup or sucrose as the main source of sweeteners. By contrast, the primary sugar in most EU formulas is lactose, which is Bobbie’s only source of sugar and carbohydrates.

In terms of the milk itself, Bobbie uses organic milk as its number two ingredient right behind organic lactose, and each is purposefully sourced with pasture raised milk (similar to EU formula) from cows that spend an average of 42% more time on pasture than USDA organic requirements.

Then there’s DHA, an essential ingredient that helps with infant development. It’s optional in the US but required in the EU. Bobbie formula, which meets the EU required levels of DHA, sources its DHA from an industry leader in sustainable algal oil production that keeps ocean contaminants from making their way to babe’s bottle.

Essentially what you have with Bobbie is a super simple formula recipe focused on quality nutrition and the selection of quality ingredients. The fact that it’s US-based is all the sweeter. Not only is purchasing infant formula from a European company illegal, but there’s plenty of other risks attached. Think about the ever-evolving EU regulations that you’ll never hear about in the US, or what happens if your formula gets recalled in Europe? There could be shipping issues and potential recalls you may not be aware of – and let’s not forget about label language barriers and the pesky metric system that makes measuring hard to understand. All in all, if you’re looking for European quality in the US, Bobbie delivers.

“At Bobbie, we believe in creating products that we want to feed our own babies,” says Kearns. “That includes putting high-quality ingredients to the forefront and sourcing them with purpose. We use premium organic ingredients sourced from reputable suppliers, while prioritizing local farms, family run businesses, and small batch operations in the U.S. wherever possible.”

This article was written in partnership with Bobbie.   

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