Doctors have long advised new mothers that breastfeeding is the ideal means of nutrition for their growing infant. But for mothers who struggle with or are unable to breastfeed, one former physician is working with Wisconsin dairy farmers to provide an alternative.
Bêne Baby Is Born
Dr. Nikos Linardakis is the co-founder of Bêne Baby Formula, a new infant formula product that launched in the summer of 2020 that is made from goat’s milk rather than cow’s milk.
“My background is as a physician and natural product developer,” Linardakis says. “I’m a Greek-American who was raised drinking goat’s milk. With my three children, I always
wanted a goat’s milk infant formula,” he says, when asked where the idea for Bêne Baby. came from. “I noticed in the last decade that the leading infant formulas on the market had high levels of processed and synthetic sugars, including corn syrup. Is this really the best we can offer our children? I knew we could do better.”
Linardakis explains that goat’s milk is ideal for infants because its makeup is the closest to human breast milk. Goat’s milk contains fats and proteins that have a smaller chain composition than cow’s milk, making it easier for the baby to digest and absorb nutrients.
“Cow’s milk is great for adults and young children, but for a growing infant, the intestinal system isn’t fully developed,” Linardakis says. “Goat’s milk is a healthier option.”
After coming up with the idea for Bêne Baby, Linardakis partnered with his friend, Jim Esselman, a dentist by trade and a cattle farmer. The pair had friends in the bovine dairy industry who were struggling and asked if they would add or convert to goats instead of cattle to supply the milk for Bêne Baby.
“Currently, we source our milk from LaClare Family Creamery in Malone,” Linardakis says. “They’re an award-winning creamery.”
Most of the goat’s milk produced in Wisconsin is used for cheese, so Linardakis says they’re working to partner with more farms who have or will bring in goats. He adds that they are committed to focusing on high-end quality, part of which is achieved by staying local – they use a Wisconsin company to powder the milk.
“We batch-produce the formula, so we know exactly where the milk is sourced from,” Linardakis says.
See more: Shop Local: Wisconsin Gift Guide
He hopes that this can also become an added market for dairy farmers, increasing the economy in more ways than one.
“This product is profitable for the farmer, our company and everyone involved in between,” Linardakis says.
Bêne Baby was named a semifinalist in the 2020 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge, which recognizes entrepreneurs developing innovative agricultural products.
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Based in Viola, GoMacro is another unique product produced in Wisconsin. Founded by mother-daughter team Amelia and Jola Kirchoff in 2004, the idea came out of adversity,
after Amelia was diagnosed with cancer. Amelia and her daughter, Jola, decided to fight
the disease with a macrobiotic plant-based diet, and from that the MacroBar recipe was born.
Thankfully, Amelia defeated cancer, and since then, the team has been producing a range of healthy and convenient plant-based protein bars. The family farms on 120 acres and uses many ingredients in their snack bars, which include varieties such as maple sea salt, peanut butter and more.