Precision fermentation-fueled startup Helaina to expand protein offerings beyond babies

Helaina is the company behind advanced infant formula with the same proteins found in breast milk. The New York City-based company was founded in 2019 by food scientist Laura KatzSeeking to advance nutrition for infants by recreating the functional components of breast milk. Now Katz is ready to extend the use case of its technology to all ages.

immunity for all

“When these proteins are consumed in breast milk and are in our secretions, tears, and sweat, they provide the first line of defense for our immune system and they know how to really interact with and talk to the cells in our body — and that’s very powerful. ​ ​

“That’s one of the reasons we see breast milk as such a critical source of nutrients, because it has these proteins in it, and we’ve done a lot in building the company and the technology to make them. Intentional and internal business development to understand how we can bring this technology to the masses.”Katz told FoodNavigator-USA.

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The idea, Katz added, has attracted the interest of quite a few companies where Helaina can sell her proteins, as well as manufacture their own consumer products that will serve early-to-late life nutrition.

“It expands the technology we put into many different categories where we can have a real impact on people’s immune health.”said Katz.

‘The options are endless’

Katz said the company is interested in developing offerings that serve nutrition first.

“[Helaina is looking at] where nutrition is the primary driver of why someone will eat or why a consumer will buy that product. So, food substitutes, drinks, powders, bars, supplements, everything in the world of things people look for as a proactive way to take care of their health.said Katz. “The options and opportunities are endless.”​ ​

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