Is Holle Organic Baby Formula Better?

Many American mothers and caregivers have chosen Holle, a Swedish organic infant formula brand because the US organic market falls short, pointing fingers at the FDA and weak organic certification standards. But who is Holle and why do Americans buy their infant formula from overseas instead US organic brands?

Who is Holle?

Holle is an 80 year old Swedish baby food company that operates in conjunction with a German production line.  They make formula, baby cereals and jarred baby food, which is their focus according to their site: http://holle.ch  
Their commercial (you can see the size of the boxes if you're curious to buy)
)

How do Holle Ingredients Stack Up?

First, let's start with what natural ingredients their formula *does* contain.  Their first ingredient listed is "skimmed milk", in which many other brands list oils, sugars and wheys. They list the milk as "from biodynamic farming (Demeter quality)".  What is Demeter quality?  What is biodynamic farming?

Demeter is a certified international farming standard with about 40 participating countries, like USDA organic standards but seemingly more strict, starting from processing all the way to packaging.  Biodynamic farming is an organic practice that is the root of Demeter certification that approaches organic farming in a holistic, sustainable way.  I could find only one other baby formula brand that has the Demeter quality milk which is BiobimLac 2 from http://www.joannusmolen.com so it doesn't look common that brands utilize this quality milk in their ingredients.

The second ingredient is organic whey which is typical in most formulas. These are both good signs of quality baby formula.

But does Holle pass the test of no-no ingredients?

Source

  • While Holle does claim that it does not have an added sweetener (there's a logo stating it on their site), maltodextrin is in fact a plant based sweetener. Their commercial actually states "no refined sugars".
  • Palm oil is also controversial as it has been said to create "soaps" in the baby's gut and have an adverse reaction regarding bone mass **. That said, the ingredients list has palm oil listed alongside rapeseed and sunflower oil so it does not look like the exclusive oil used.
  • One item that isn't shown is copper sulfate, which Holle does have and is a known allergen for some.*

Their claims:

  • No GMOs
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • No preservatives
  • No refined sugars
  • Egg and gluten free
  • Made from 99% organically grown ingredients
  • Organic starch and maltodextrin derived from corn
  • The remaining 1% of ingredients are vitamins and minerals which are necessary for your baby’s development and are required by EU regulations

The full ingredient list in Stage 1 Holle Baby Formula:

Skimmed milk** (Germany), whey powder* partly demineralised, vegetable oils* (palm oil*, rapeseed oil*, sunflower oil*), maltodextrin*, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, vitamin C, vitamin E, ferrous lactate, zinc sulphate, niacin, Calcium-D-pantothenate, copper sulphate, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese sulphate, potassium iodate, folic acid, vitamin K, sodium selenate, vitamin D

*from organic farming
**from biodynamic farming (Demeter quality)


Overall, the US baby formulas all have some sort of controversial ingredient so it seems the standout positive is the type of milk used.

Parent Testimonials of Holle Baby Formula

So is it worth the price?  Some parents with colicky babies have seen a difference based on the online reviews and swear by it.  Other parents feel that it is better quality overall considering the lax USDA organic standards compared to international or European as a rule.  Here are some comments from parents:

Note: These are taken from other retail sites and I have no affiliation with any of the reviewers

Where to Buy Holle Baby Formula

If you are convinced it's worth it, at present there are only a few online places to buy this for US delivery which can be found here.


Less Expensive Baby's Only

If you cannot afford the price, some parents recommend Babys Only Organic Formula made in the US that is non GMO. The label says it's a toddler formula but it meets all standards on infant formula (they promote breastfeeding up to one year).


Sources:
* copper sulfate: http://www.inrfood.com/ingredients/1288
** Palm oil study summary (2004): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12728082












Organic Baby Formula - Holle Swedish Brand - Where to Buy

As much as some mothers would like to breast feed their babies, in many cases it is not possible or the need for supplemental milk is required.  Below is a summary of where to buy (at present) the most natural and highly rated infant formula Holle, a Swedish brand, and have it shipped to the US.  If you have information on where to buy this from other countries, please comment and I will update the post with your links and information. You can also visit the Holle website that lists current retailers by country.

>> For details and ingredients about Holle formula, see my other post here.

I will start out that these recommendations are researched, and not for the readily available organic, off-the-shelf brands like Earths Best, Walmart's Parent's Choice or Similac Organic.  There are reference articles and testimonials at the bottom of this post, so please educate yourselves as to what you are feeding your babies, if not to tell other mothers and caregivers what should *not* be in our infant formulas available in the US.

Where to buy Holle Infant and Toddler formula (March 2016):


~$27 Includes free shipping, also does overnight shipping

Amazon seller


Biologisch24.com** (ships from Germany to worldwide)

  • Stage 1-4: ~$11-$16/box + shipping rate examples below (expensive!):
    • 1-2 boxes = $33-$37 shipping
    • 3-6 boxes = $41-$44 shipping
    • 7-8 boxes = $48 shipping
    • 10 boxes = $56 shipping
    • 20 boxes = $70 shipping

** Generally the reviews from this site are positive and shipping takes about 2-3 weeks to the US

Violey (ships from Germany to worldwide)

  • Stage 1: ~$10/box + $36 to US (up to 4 boxes/2 kg)
  • Stage 2-4: ~$14/box + $36 to US (up to 3 boxes/2kg)

Shipping rates: http://www.violey.com/en/shipping.html

Ebay sellers:

  • Seller superfooduk: Stage 1-2: $16-$19 a box + ~$33 shipping, 1-2 week delivery to US 
  • Other misc sellers: there are sellers that ship from US within one week and reasonable shipping costs, but the price of the box is higher
UK

Belgium

Here are some supporting articles that might help you understand the above choices: