We define ‘Protection’ as supporting babies’ digestive and immune systems to help them defend against illness.

A babies’ immunity needs a helping hand

Protection is important because new-born babies are at a vulnerable stage of life. 

This is because their gut wall is not fully matured. Furthermore, newborn babies have inexperienced immune systems, with limited exposure to pathogens. The adaptive part of the immune system relies on this previous exposure to pathogens to develop defences against them. 

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Until the gut wall and immune system begin to reach maturity, breast milk is the ideal nutrition for infants, as it provides important protective components. When a baby is breastfed, its gut is colonised by certain types of beneficial bacteria which are thought to play an important role in a healthy, balanced gut. 

Other breast milk components such as lactoferrin and complex milk lipids,  may help to speed up gut maturation and may protect gut membrane integrity1.

Why we’ve chosen to focus on protection

SureStart™ ingredients address ‘Protection’ as a key focus area because we have identified this is an area that could be supported by paediatric nutrition solutions.


The microbiota of a breastfed baby has a characteristic profile of gut bacteria, typically higher in Bifidobacteria. This is believed to help account for lower rates of sickness in breastfed infants2.


Although breast milk is the ideal nutrition for infants, in some cases breastfeeding is not possible. In these situations, parents may want a paediatric nutrition solution that may help to support the infant immune system.

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Boosting Infant Immunity with SureStartTM BifidoB HN019TM

Click below to find out more
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When parents in China and Indonesia are choosing a brand, their top criteria is that the infant formula “Strengthens my baby’s immunity”

Source: Fonetrra 'Mothers and health care professionals (HCPS) Consumer Research' 2010 & 2011

Our Probiotic Clinical Research

Our clinical research has shown that both strains are safe and well-tolerated across all age groups, including infants and pregnant women. 


Furthermore, we have evidence of the following health benefits:

  • SureStart™ BifidoB 019: the ability to colonise the intestinal tracts of infants and children, protecting them from common infections such as respiratory tract infections, and boosting immunity3.

  • SureStart™ LactoB 001: demonstrated anti-allergy efficacy, and has been shown to be effective in the prevention of eczema4.


Our continued research is still uncovering further health benefits and helping us to better understand the mechanisms underlying these.


SureStart™ BifidoB HN019™ offers benefits that are important to parents:

  • It is patented for its immune-enhancing benefits and excellent stability in the formulation.

  • Our clinical research shows BifidoB 019 reduces the incidence of common childhood sickness and the use of antibiotics3.

  • It has a beneficial effect on the balance of gut microbiota, increasing levels of beneficial Bifidobacteria5.

  • It also promotes a healthy infant digestive system by supporting the health of the intestinal wall6.

Our Probiotic Discovery Programme

Fonterra began a probiotic discovery programme in 1990.

This began with a pool of 2000 probiotic strains derived from dairy cultures.

Through careful study and research, the two most beneficial strains were commercially developed.

These are SureStart™
LactoB HN001™ and SureStart™
BifidoB HN019™.

How probiotics can support the immune system and gut health in infants and young children. 

Probiotics show promise in boosting immunity and reducing respiratory tract infections in infants and young children. 

LactoB HN001™ immune benefits during early life. 

Lactoferrin supporting early life immunity. 

Immune health/protection is also closely linked to Digestive Health and this is often found as a secondary claim*

*Source: Innova, Fonterra Custom Research 2016
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  • [1] Demmelmair et al. 2017, Park et al, 2010; Park et al, 2007
  • [2] Arboleya et al., 2016
  • [3] Dekker et al 2012; Sazawal et al.,2010; Dekker et al.,2009
  • [4] Wickens et al., 2012
  • [5] Oswari et al., 2013
  • [6] Rivière et al., 2016

Explore our other Focus Areas 

We develop scientifically backed ingredients that evidence shows support brain development and cognition.

Supporting healthy digestive systems for happy babies.

Optimal growth requires optimal nutrion.

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