Infant formula industry and creation of new pharmaceutical markets by Rima Apple

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“The development of the first commercial infant formulas resulted from the research of Justus von Liebig, the agricultural chemist…Concerned for the health of infants deprived of breast milk, especially two of his own grandchildren whose mothers could not nurse, Liebig constructed in the 1860s what he considered the ‘perfect’ infant food.

The product consisted of wheat flour, cow’s milk, and malt flour with a little bicarbonate of potash to reduce the acidity of the wheat and malt flours…Other chemists, particularly Europeans, entered the infant-food-industry in increasing numbers.

Henri Nestle, a Swiss merchant with a passion for chemistry, combined milk, sugar and wheat flour, the three basic food elements for infants, and used a German method of cooking the wheat with malt to convert the indigestible starch into more easily digested dextrin…

Rima D. Apple. “Advertised by our loving friends”: the infant formula industry and the creation of new pharmaceutical markets, 1870-1910. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 1986; 41(1):3-23. (no abstract)


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