Formula is food. A really important first food made mostly of cow’s milk and vegetable oils and supplemented with a whole host of minerals and vitamins mandated by the FDA to ensure baby grows well. 
We know you read the label on every food you feed your family, and formula should be no different. Since it’s a bit more complicated than other Plum products, we thought we’d give you a hand in understanding the ingredient deck, and why each and every ingredient is in our formula (and many others you’ll find on the market).
All babies need carbohydrates for energy, and lactose is the most abundant carbohydrate found in breast milk.  In fact, carbohydrates make up 40-45% of baby’s energy, and this is especially important for their rapidly growing brains. ,  Some formulas use a combination of lactose and corn-derived sugars like corn syrup solids, glucose syrup solids and/or maltodextrin, but ours is just organic lactose.
Organic Palm Oil or Palm Olein
Organic palm oil is a source of dietary fat for baby, and is one component of our plant-based oil blend that allows us to reach an appropriate ratio of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Oil types and ratios are carefully adjusted to mimic the pattern of fat in human breast milk. We include palm oil as a component of our plant-based oil blend as it’s the closest oil that mimics the palmitic acid found in breast milk.  Babies use dietary fat as a source of energy to support their rapid growth during early infancy , and fat helps aid in vitamin absorption.  Our organic palm oil is Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified. 
Organic Soy Oil
Organic soy oil is a source of dietary fat for baby, and is one component of our plant-based oil blend that allows us to reach an appropriate ratio of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Babies use dietary fat as a source of energy to support their rapid growth during early infancy , and fat helps aid in vitamin absorption.  Certified organic formulas like ours contain no genetically engineered ingredients (that’s GMOs), and this includes the soy. We know some parents are concerned about soy allergies. If you are, it might be helpful to know that the allergy component of soy is in the protein and there is very little protein found in soy oil.  If you do have concerns, consult with your pediatrician.
Organic Coconut Oil
Organic coconut oil is a source of dietary fat for baby, and is one component of our plant-based oil blend that allows us to reach an appropriate ratio of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Babies use dietary fat as a source of energy to support their rapid growth during early infancy , and fat helps aid in vitamin absorption. 
Organic High Oleic (Safflower or Sunflower) Oil
Organic safflower and sunflower oils are both a source of dietary fat for baby. The oil we use varies depending on availability. Both are high oleic oils meaning they have a lot of monounsaturated fats to offer baby, a good thing all around. Our organic high oleic safflower/sunflower oil is one component of our plant-based oil blend that allows us to reach an appropriate ratio of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Oil types and ratios are carefully adjusted to mimic the pattern of fat in human breast milk, which typically contains 20% palmitic acid and about 34% oleic acid. Babies use dietary fat as a source of energy to support their rapid growth during early infancy , and fat helps aid in vitamin absorption. 
Organic Nonfat Milk
Infant formula’s inspiration is breast milk. Since we can’t perfectly reproduce breast milk, we use the closest thing in nature: cow’s milk. We deconstruct it so that we can build it back up again in proportions that are closer to breast milk. We start with nonfat milk and add the fats back in from the plant-based oils so that baby is getting the right blend of fats.
Organic Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey, and its best friend, casein, are two types of protein found in both cow’s milk and human breast milk. These two powerhouse proteins help support many different functions including growth and development.  While cow’s milk is higher in casein, the opposite is true for human breast milk, which is relatively higher in whey protein.  Whey protein is easier for babies to digest than casein. All infant formulas, including ours, are created with the intent to be gentle on baby’s digestive system.
LESS THAN 1% INGREDIENTS
Infant formula is a highly regulated product, as it should be. The FDA has mandated which nutrients and at what levels must be included in all infant formulas.  From emulsification to preservation to nutrition, we’ve carefully selected each individual ingredient in the “less than 1%” category based on functionality and formula optimization. Next, all the ingredients found in our Minerals & Vitamins overview are the ones required by the FDA.
Organic Soy Lecithin
Ever notice how homemade salad dressings tend to separate? Oil and water don’t mix because oil is made up of non-polar molecules while water molecules are polar in nature. When preparing powdered infant formula, it’s necessary to add water to the powder and then shake, shake, shake. After the big shakedown, it’s organic soy lecithin which helps keep the plant oils in the infant formula and the added water together in the bottle. Without it, they would separate.
This oil, which comes from algae , is what we use to source docosahexaenoic acid, or simply DHA. DHA is a long chain fatty acid found naturally in human breast milk.  This fatty acid, along with arachidonic acid (ARA), are the major long chain fats in baby’s brain and nerve tissue.  DHA is also an important structural component of an infant’s brain and eyes. ,  While not conclusive, some studies have demonstrated that visual acuity, visual attention, cognitive function and potentially other benefits are positively impacted when DHA and ARA are included in an infant’s diet. , , , , ,  After reviewing this research and consulting with several industry leading experts, we determined it was important to include DHA & ARA in Plum’s formula.
Mortierella Alpina Oil (ARA)
This nutritious oil, which is derived from fungus , is our chosen source for arachidonic acid or ARA, a long chain fatty acid found naturally in human breast milk.  This fatty acid, along with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the major long chain fats in baby’s brain and nerve tissue.  While not conclusive, some studies have demonstrated that visual acuity, visual attention, cognitive function and potentially other benefits are positively impacted when DHA and ARA are included in an infant’s diet. , , , , ,  Again, after reviewing this research and consulting with several industry leading experts, we decided it was important to include DHA & ARA in our formula.
Taurine is one of the most abundant free amino acid in breast milk.  It plays a role in helping absorb fat as well as efficiently deal with waste products.  It has also been shown to play a role in the nervous system, as well as developing eyes and ears. ,  Although taurine is not considered an essential nutrient for a full term baby, due to all of these properties, we’ve included it in our formula.
This ingredient is included to help preserve the organic plant-based oils in our formula. These oils provide important dietary fats for baby, and ascorbyl palmitate helps prevent them from being oxidized and going rancid.  Ascorbyl palmitate also allows the formula to mix with the water you add.
Mixed Tocopherol Concentrate
Mixed tocopherols include a variety of vitamin E based compounds used to help prevent oxidation of the ingredients in our formula which helps with nutrient preservation. 
Even in small quantities, a whole host of minerals and vitamins help to ensure proper growth and development 
Calcium hydroxide is a form of calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body that babies use as the building blocks for developing strong bones and teeth. Babies need calcium to support their growing muscles and to help their nerves carry messages from the brain out to different parts of the baby’s body. Calcium also helps blood move throughout the body and helps release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body. 
Calcium phosphate is a form of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral needed by every cell in the body. Phosphorus works closely with calcium to support strong bones and teeth and is also used for energy production and storage. Additionally, phosphorus helps deliver oxygen to different tissues around baby’s body. 
Cupric sulfate is a type of copper, a mineral that is part of several enzymes and proteins that helps the body use iron more efficiently. Copper also helps develop connective tissue and supports immune function. 
Ferrous sulfate is another name for iron, a mineral babies need to make both hemoglobin and myoglobin, which together transport oxygen to cells and muscles. Babies are born with about a six-month reserve of iron that comes from their mother during pregnancy. This is very important as babies continue to need iron during their first year as they experience a period of rapid growth and development. 
Magnesium chloride is a type of magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate many important processes, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Magnesium also helps babies make bones and DNA, the genetic material inside every cell. 
Manganese sulfate is a type of manganese, a mineral present in very small quantities in the bones, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. Manganese plays a role in helping to break down and use carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol. It is also involved in helping form connective tissue and bones, and supports brain and nerve function as well. 
Potassium bicarbonate is a type of potassium that acts as both a mineral and an electrolyte. Potassium is needed for the proper function of baby’s cells, tissues, and organs. In addition to other electrolytes, potassium helps the body conduct electricity, which helps support heart function, skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, and digestion. 
Potassium chloride is a form of chloride, a mineral and electrolyte located in all body fluids that helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of cells in balance. It also transmits nerve impulses, and provides a balance between acids and bases in baby’s body. 
Potassium iodide is a form of iodine, a mineral babies need to turn food into energy. It is also needed for a healthy metabolism that helps support proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy. 
Sodium citrate is a form of sodium, a mineral and electrolyte that supports nerve and muscle functions. Sodium also helps babies regulate fluid balance. 
Sodium selenite is a form of selenium, a mineral that supports thyroid function, and the production of DNA, the genetic material inside every cell. Selenium also helps protect babies from infection. 
Zinc sulfate is a type of zinc, a mineral found in cells throughout the body. During the earliest years of life, babies depend on zinc to help grow and develop properly. Zinc also plays a role in taste and smell development. 
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C as it is more commonly known, is an antioxidant vitamin that helps protect baby’s cells from damage, helps with immunity and plays a role in iron absorption. Given the high levels of healthy fats found in infant formulas including ours, nutrient preservatives like vitamin C aid in preventing rancidity. 
Beta-carotene is a type of antioxidant called a carotenoid that babies use to make vitamin A. 
Biotin is a type of B vitamin (B7) that helps babies convert the three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats and protein – into useable energy. Biotin also helps the nervous system function properly and supports the digestive tract. 
Calcium pantothenate, or pantothenic acid, is a type of B vitamin (B5) that helps babies break down and use food for energy. Pantothenic acid also helps babies produce hormones and cholesterol. 
Choline bitartrate is a type of choline, an essential nutrient that provides structure for cell membranes and helps baby’s cells communicate with one another. 
Cyanocobalamin is another name for vitamin B12, a vitamin that helps keep the baby’s nervous system and blood cells healthy and functioning. Vitamin B12 also helps babies produce DNA, the genetic material inside every cell. 
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, plays a key role in helping babies make DNA, the genetic material found in every cell, to support growth and development. 
Inositol, or vitamin B8, is a component of cell membranes that helps cells communicate with one another. Inositol also plays a role in lung development in babies. 
Niacinamide is a form of niacin also known as vitamin B3. Niacin helps babies break down protein, carbohydrates and fat into energy that they can use to support normal growth and development. It also supports the baby’s digestive system and eyes. 
Pyridoxine hydrochloride is another name for vitamin B6. In the body, vitamin B6 is in high demand as over 100 enzymes need it to help turn protein into energy that babies use to support normal growth and development. 
Riboflavin is a type of B vitamin also known as vitamin B2. Like most of the B vitamins, riboflavin helps turn the nutrients found in breast milk and formula into energy needed to support baby’s growth and development. 
Thiamine hydrochloride is a form of thiamin known as vitamin B1. Thiamin helps babies turn the nutrients found in breast milk and formula into energy needed to support their growth and development. 
Vitamin A Palmitate
Vitamin A palmitate helps promote vision and supports the developing immune system. 
Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol)
Vitamin D works to support strong bones by helping babies absorb calcium. Babies also need vitamin D to help their nerves carry message from their brain to the rest of their body. 
Vitamin E (DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate)
Vitamin E helps keep blood flowing through vessels properly, and babies need vitamin E to help support their developing immune system by acting as an antioxidant working to protect cells from damage. 
Vitamin K (Phytonadione)
Vitamin K is a type of vitamin that helps baby’s blood to clot. It is also known to help build healthy bones and muscle. Since newborns often have very little vitamin K, they are sometimes given a shot of vitamin K soon after birth.