Is toddler milk a waste of money?
Parents could save more than £500 a year by switching from toddler milk to cow's milk, a new report claims.
The report, by consumer rights group Which?, indicates that parents could make an annual saving of £531 by switching from ready-to-serve toddler milk costing £593 a year to cow's milk, which costs just £62.
At Tesco, a 200ml carton of ready-to-serve Aptamil 1yrs+ growing up milk costs 79p; while a four-pint carton of Tesco semi-skimmed milk (containing 11 times the Aptamil carton's volume) costs £1.39.
Full fat cow's milk contains less sugar (4.7g per 100ml) in comparison to Hipp organic combiotic growing up milk powder, which has 7.9g of sugar per 100ml.
Moreover, cow's milk also has higher levels of calcium (122mg per 100ml) compared to powdered toddler milk, with Apatamil 1yr+ growing up milk powder and Cow & Gate 1-2 yrs growing up milk powder both containing 86mg per 100ml.
Toddler milks contain more iron and vitamin D than cow's milk, but Which? says these nutrients can be obtained from a child's diet and a multivitamin that contains vitamin A, C and D.
The formula market is worth £359m a year and the fastest growing sector of this is toddler milks – but government advice recommends that toddler milks are unnecessary, a message Which? says isn't getting through to parents.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: "At a time when so many household budgets are severely squeezed, parents could be saving hundreds of pounds on toddler milks that the government says are unnecessary.
"Ministers should make their advice much clearer and introduce guidance on the ingredients of toddler milks, including the level of sugar and calcium."
But Nicola Tatum, senior product manager at HiPP Organic Milks, said follow-on milks have a useful role to play in limited or restricted weaning diets as a valuable iron source.
"If a toddler is a fussy eater or their intake of iron-containing foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals is limited, then they could very well benefit from the continued use of a formula milk such as a Growing up Milk after 1 year," Tatum said. "The only form of sugar in HiPP Organic Combiotic Growing Up Milk is lactose, naturally occurring milk sugar. No other sugars are added to the HiPP formula milk."