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Logo of Nutricia

Nutricia is a part of the Danone group that specialises in therapeutic food and clinical nutrition. Products range from infant formula to specialised nutrition for babies with specific needs and for breastfeeding mothers. It also produces and markets special clinical nutrition and diet products.


Old Nutricia logo

In the 19th century mothers who were unable to breastfeed used wet nurses – women hired to breastfeed other women’s children – or cow’s milk to feed their babies. The composition of cow’s milk was not appropriate for feeding infants and, at that time, could be a source of disease contributing to high infant mortality across Europe.[1][2]

1885 the German Professor Alexander Backhaus pioneered a technique in his laboratory that removed the more slowly digested casein protein from cows’ milk, leaving behind only the faster dissolving and more easily digestible whey proteins.[3] With his invention Backhaus improved tolerability and succeeded in developing an infant formula that approached the composition of human milk. This meant that many new-born babies could now benefit from nutrition tailored to their needs[3]

1896 Professor Backhaus filed a patent and presented his invention at a medical conference in Berlin. Dr. Johannes van der Hagen, a medical doctor and Dutch Public Health Inspector was in the audience. Johannes saw a great future for the margarine and dairy products factory owned by his brother Martinus van der Hagen in The Netherlands[3][4][5]

1901 The brothers van der Hagen met with Professor Backhaus and he granted them rights to manufacture Backhaus infant milk formula. The Nutricia name was adopted in 1901 and quickly gained popularity becoming known as “The Wet Nurse of The Netherlands.”[3]

1906 Nutricia pioneered the concept of specialized nutrition and developed special diet products such as low-sugar milk for diabetic patients and iodine-rich milk for those suffering from goiter[5]

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 a 100 years, this factory is still one of Nutricia’s centre of excellence for producing specialized nutritional solutions for infants and young children with special dietary needs.

1946 Nutricia sets up its first research facilities in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands.

Cow & Gate was bought by Nutricia in 1981.

Milupa was founded as a successor to an industrial bakery created in 1903 in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe. It initially focussed on bakery and chocolate, then on baby food. In 1995 it was bought by Nutricia.Though in 2018 the company revenue was $980 Million (approx).

In 1998 the group got the name "NUMICO", formed by NUtricia, MIlupa and COw & Gate.

In 1999, the NUMICO group started operations in India as Nutricia (India) Private Limited that acquired the dairy products division of Hindustan Lever Limited (Unilever India) and its associated Indian brands Anik, Anikspray and Anik Ghee.[6][7]

In March 2001, the company's Dairy & Drinks division, well known for its brands Chocomel/Cécémel, Fristi, Nutroma and Extran, was sold to Friesland Coberco (today FrieslandCampina)[citation needed].

In 2003, Numico decided to cease operations in India and sold Nutricia (India) Private Limited to a consortium of four Indian companies.[8][9]

On 2007-07-09, a €12.3 billion offer for the company by French rival Danone was accepted by the Numico board.[10] Danone announced ownership of over 90% of Numico's shares on 31 October 2007, declaring its offer for the remainder unconditional.[11] 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.[12] The brands owned by Numico (Milupa, Nutricia and Cow & Gate) became under control of Danone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UTP Journals Vincent J. Knapp. See obituary on p. 407. CBMH/BCHM / Volume 15: 1998 / p. 317-36
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ a b c d Drivers of Innovation in Pediatric Nutrition. Koletzko B, Koletzko S and Ruemmele F, eds. Nutrition Institute Workshop Series Pediatric Program, Vol 66. Karger AG, 2010.
  4. ^ From milk by-products to milk ingredients: upgrading the cycle. De Boer, R. Wiley, 2014,
  5. ^ a b Cross-Border Investing: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe. Djarova J. Springer, 2004.
  6. ^ Goswami, Nandini (25 June 1999). "Nutricia to ride Lever's sales network for 3 years". Financial Express. Indian Express group. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ Chatterjee, Purvita (27 August 2001). "Nutricia foray into baby cereal -- Plans to extend franchise of Anik brand". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  8. ^ Zachariah, Reeba (November 3, 2003). "Nutricia to exit India". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Hindustan Lever set to divest dairy wing to Nutricia India". Financial Express. 21 May 1999. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Danone to Offer 12.3 Billion Euros for Numico". CNBC. 2007-07-09. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
  11. ^ "Danone says Numico bid unconditional, holds 90.5 pct". Reuters. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  12. ^ "Delisting of shares" (PDF). Euronext. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 2008-02-19.

External links[edit]