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N.V. Nutricia
  • N.V. Nutricia (1896–1998)
  • Royal Numico N.V. (1998–)
TypePrivate (1896–2007)
Founded1896; 127 years ago (1896) in the Netherlands
FounderMartinus van der Hagen
Jan van der Hagen [1]
FateAcquired by Danone in 2007, which took over the "Nutricia" brand.
ProductsTherapeutic food

Nutricia is a Danone brand that specialises in therapeutic food and infant formula, including medical nutrition for babies with specific needs.

The former company, N.V. Nutricia., was established in The Netherlands by brothers Jan and Martinus van der Hagen, who started the production of infant milk formula in 1896 and diabetic milk products and iodine enriched milks in 1905. [1]


Jan and Martinus van der Hagen, founders of Nutricia

In 1885, the German Professor Alexander Backhaus developed a technique in his laboratory that removed the more slowly digested casein protein from cow’s milk, leaving behind only the faster dissolving and more easily digestible whey proteins.[2] Backhaus’ new formulation was better tolerated and closer in composition to human milk. Since the composition of cow’s milk was not appropriate for feeding infants and could, at that time, be a source of disease contributing to high infant mortality across Europe.[3][4]

Professor Backhaus filed a patent and presented his invention at a medical conference in Berlin in 1896 where Dr. Johannes van der Hagen, a medical doctor, and Dutch Public Health Inspector, was in the audience. Johannes introduced Professor Backhaus to his brother, Martinus van der Hagen, who owned a factory in The Netherlands producing margarine and dairy products.[5][6][7] Professor Backhaus granted them rights to manufacture his infant milk formula.

Nutricia advertisement seen on a wall during a funeral in Asia, 1921

In 1901, the "Nutricia" name was adopted and became known as “The Wet Nurse of The Netherlands.”[5] Five years later, Nutricia began to introduce new special diet products such as low-sugar milk for diabetic patients and iodine-rich milk for those suffering from goitre,[7] marking the beginnings of 'medical nutrition' as a category.

In 1924, Nutricia moved its main (powder) production facilities (from van der Hagen's original factory) to the N.V. Cuijk's Dairy Factory. For almost 100 years, this factory has been producing specialized nutritional solutions for infants and young children with special dietary needs. In 1946 Nutricia sets up its first research facilities in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.

In 1950, Nutricia introduced ‘Voedingsnieuws’ ‘Nutrition News’, a group of dieticians who travelled around The Netherlands and to other countries, educating healthcare professionals on the role of specialized nutrition.

In 1986 Nutricia opened a consumer Care Line, managed by qualified dieticians helping consumers, carers and healthcare professionals. The company changed its name to "Koninklijke Numico N.V.", or "Royal Numico N.V.", in 1998.[1]

In 2007, French conglomerate Danone acquired Royal Numico for €12.3 billion, after the Numico board accepted the offer.[7][8] Danone announced ownership of over 90% of Numico's shares on 31 October 2007, declaring its offer for the remainder unconditional.[9] As a result, Numico was removed from the AEX index. The company's shares were delisted from the Amsterdam Stock Exchange at the end of 2007 as Danone gained full control.[10] The brands owned by Numico -Nutricia, Milupa (part of Nutricia since 1995) and Cow & Gate (part of Nutricia since 1981) became part of Danone.

In 2019, Danone opened a new Nutricia plant in Haps, The Netherlands; a sustainable, zero-waste facility for producing specialised infant formula, powered with 100% renewable electricity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c History of Royal Numico N.V. on Funding Universe
  2. ^ From milk by-products to milk ingredients: upgrading the cycle De Boer, R. Wiley, 2014
  3. ^ Major Medical Explanations for High Infant mortality in Nineteenth-Century Europe - VINCENT J. KNAPP
  4. ^ Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth. Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman, eds. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-20928-8 1986
  5. ^ a b Koletzko, B.; Ruemmele, F.; Koletzko, S. (22 July 2010). Drivers of Innovation in Pediatric Nutrition. ISBN 9783805594554.
  6. ^ From milk by-products to milk ingredients: upgrading the cycle De Boer, R. Wiley, 2014
  7. ^ a b c Cross-Border Investing: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe. Djarova J. Springer, 2004.
  8. ^ Danone pays a high price for Numico's growth By David Jones on Reuters, 10 Jul 2007
  9. ^ "Danone says Numico bid unconditional, holds 90.5 pct". Reuters. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  10. ^ "Delisting of shares" (PDF). Euronext. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2008-02-19.

External links[edit]