For some parents, breastfeeding is for many different reasons not an option. This faces them with the difficult decision which is the best possible formula for their little one. This decision is so important, because your baby’s diet has a significant affect on its healthy development and growth.
Baby’s best food provides you an unbiased guide to assist parents along this path to find out, which baby formula is best for their child.
As Hipp and Holle are the most popular und best-selling baby formulas on the market of organic baby formula, we compare these brands in detail on this page. The reason why these two brands have become so popular in the United States is because organic formula made in Europe have much tighter restrictions when it comes to organic labeling and additives. As a matter of fact, many additives are strictly banned in the European Union that are widely spread in foods sold in the United States.
Both Hipp and Holle are suitable replacements for breastmilk or they can be used in addition to breast milk. They both are approved and certified by the strict and stringent regulations of the European Commission (which is the European counterpart to the US Food and Drug Administration).
On this page, we want to guide you in this complex jungle of different ingredients and compare the different composition of ingredients of the formulas, their prices as well as options for allergies and sensitivities.
1. Ingredients Holle versus Hipp formula
So let’s look at the differences and similarities of macronutrients and micronutrients as well as other supplements in both Holle and Hipp baby formulas first.
1.1 Macronutrients in Holle vs. Hipp: carbohydrates, protein and fat
When looking at nutrients in baby formula, the source of carbohydrates are among the most important factors to look at when choosing the best baby formula for your infant. Natural breast milk contains lactose and thus, it is the best carbohydrate source in baby formula. Lactose provides babies with energy and supports their mental and physical health. Also, lactose sustains a healthy intestinal flora and helps your baby absorb nutrients.
Unlike in the United States, where there are no required standards for the amount of lactose in baby formula, the EU requires that a minimum of 30% of carbohydrates come from lactose. Also, sucrose (cane sugar) is banned in European baby formulas, while the US formulas contain sucrose or other processed sugars that make the production much cheaper.
Another carbohydrate source of some baby formulas is organic maltodextrin, which is a complex carbohydrate that is derived from starch. Maltodextrin is a counterbalance to the sweet cow or goat milk. Maltodextrin releases energy slower than lactose so that infants feel full for a longer time and it helps to make the formula thicker.
Carbohydrates of Holle Stage PRE is solely and to 100% based on lactose. Holle Stage 1 and 2 on the other hand (both cow and goat milk), contain a combination of lactose and maltodextrin carbohydrates.
Most HiPP baby formulas are solely lactose-based when you look at the carbohydrate source. The exception is HiPP Anti Reflux: containing maltodextrin, it can help your baby to ease the digestion if it has a sensitive stomach or to prevent reflux due to its heavier consistency in the stomach.
Protein is essential in your baby’s diet as it maintains a healthy growth and nourishment. The proper source of protein and the right proportions are equally essential. Natural breast milk contains 60% whey protein and 40% casein protein, whereas cow’s milk contains 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. Whey protein is easier to digest for little baby’s stomachs. Therefore, it is important to make sure baby formula contains the right proportion of whey protein and that the protein ratio has been adjusted so that it is similar to that of breast milk. To help a baby’s digestion, both of these protein sources need to be included to mimic natural breastmilk.
Holle baby formula comprises a well balanced protein ratio which contains whey and casein protein. Holle Goat Stage 1 and 2 will help infants with digestion problems to ease their digestion. If your infant has a cow’s milk protein intolerance or sensitivity, Holle goat milk can be a good choice. The reason is that the protein contained in goat’s milk is smaller and thus, easier to digest than protein contained in cow’s milk.
Also the HiPP baby formulas contain a protein source ratio that is comparable to breast milk. HiPP Anti-Reflux baby formula for sensitive stomachs on the other hand contains 100% whey protein.
HiPP Hypoallergenic (PRE, Stages 1 and 2) contain protein hydrolysates derived from hydrolyzed milk protein. Protein hydrolysates are not available in organic form, which is why hypoallergenic baby formula is not purely organic. All other ingredients of HiPP Hypoallergenic however are organic and it may be a suitable formula for easing the distressed stomachs of infants with allergies or sensitivities.
In the last years, palm oil has been said to have a negative effective on your baby’s bone density because some studies have shown that. However, Holle and HiPP baby formula both contain palm oil, but they both use a mixture of different oils so that the amount of palm oil is not enough to have a negative effect on your baby’s bone density or health.
HiPP baby formula contains palm oil, rapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
Holle baby formula too, contains palm oil, rapeseed oil and sunflower oil.
1.2 Micronutrients and supplements
Essential micronutrients include not only vitamins, minerals, Omega fatty acids, but also prebiotics and probiotics.
1.2.1 Omega- fatty acids: ALA, DHA and ARA
Omega-3-fatty acids (ALA and DHA) as well as omega-6-fatty acids (ARA) are important for your infant’s brain health, muscle development, nerve function, vision and a strong immune system. Omega fatty acids are not required in baby formulas sold in the US, but in Europe, they are required since 2020.
Both Holle and HiPP correspond to the WHO international food standards which dictate that baby formula contains 300 mg of linoleic acid (Omega-6 fatty acid, ARA) and 50mg of alpha-linoleic acid (Omega-3-fatty acid, ALA).
Holle organic baby formula is packed with DHA and ARA, according to the EU regulations updated in 2020. Prior to 2020, DHA was not included in Holle baby formula. But now, since the update of the EU regulations, all newly- produced baby formulas made by Holle contain DHA derived from fish oil (in Holle organic cow milk formula) or from algae (as in Holle organic goat milk formulas). With this new formulation, the instructions for preparing Holle organic baby formula has changed. Please be aware of that and follow the instructions for preparation for each product, especially if you are not sure which version of the formula you ordered.
HiPP baby formula all contain ARA and DHA in HiPP baby formula stage 1. As a consequence of the 2020 EU regulations, the quantity of DHA, choline and vitamin D has increased in all HiPP formulas. Also, HiPP stage 2 baby formula has been updated to include long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA) which are derived from vegetable and fish oil.
1.2.2 Prebiotics and probiotics
Pre- and probiotics are important in your baby’s diet because they support the healthy growth of intestinal bacteria. Also, they boost the immune system, minimize colic and support a healthy overall digestion.
Natural breast milk also contains both prebiotics and probiotics. Babies are born with a sterile gastrointestinal system, which means that they don’t have any bacteria in their intestine at the beginning. As time goes by, a baby’s body has to build them up or, however, they can be absorbed as part of the diet, for example as part of breast milk or of baby formula, supporting them to be added to the intestine quickly.
Probiotics are good bacteria that support a healthy digestion and immune system. Prebiotics on the other hand are indigestible food components or fibers, that increase the growth of probiotics.
HiPP lays emphasize on prebiotics, thus all HiPP products contain prebiotics to support a healthy digestion. HiPP Hypoallergenic and Anti-reflux formulas contain both prebiotics and probiotics.
HiPP’s Combiotik line contains the bacteria called “lactobacillus fermentum” that is cultivated from natural breast milk.
Holle baby formula does not include prebiotics or probiotics, since it is their ambition to keep the list of ingredients short. However, prebiotics and probiotic supplements can be added easily to any Holle formula.
2. Organic EU certification
The organic standards and regulations certified in the EU are much more strict and extensive than those certified in the United States. Both Holle and HiPP are organically certified by the EU, with the exception that a number of sensitive HiPP formulas like HiPP Anti-Reflux and Hypoallergenic are not 100% organic.
Holle is certified by Demeter to be biodynamic. Foods having the Demeter label have grown under strict biodynamic standards that are in harmony with nature. Demeter biodynamic farmers focus on the holistic qualities of the growing cycles- be it seeds, plants, animals, soil or humans- all elements plays an equally important role and supports the others. The use of synthetic and chemical pesticides and fertilizers as well as GMOs are strictly banned on biodynamic farms with no exception. Also, Demeter label requires animal welfare guarantees, annual renewal, ecosystem preservation and biodiversity promotion.
To sum it up: Holle has the highest standards for sustainable agriculture without using chemicals and for animal welfare worldwide.
HiPP’s organic label comes from their own organic label HiPP Bio. HiPP also has a strong focus on high quality and sustainability of their products and raw products and organic production.
According to HiPP, their organic label controls the quality of their products in regard to contaminated crops and pollutants in the air and soil. Also, HiPP products are pesticide free and are undergoing strict quality controls.
Almost all HiPP formulas are EU organic certified with the exception of HiPP Comfort, Anti-Reflux and Hypoallergenic. These sensitive formulas require protein hydrolysates that are not available in organic form. But they too are made with organic ingredients including grass-fed cow milk. All other ingredients of HiPP baby formula are EU organic certified.
3. Price of Holle versus HiPP Baby formula
If you compare the cost of Holle versus HiPP formula, don’t forget to convert the different measurements in grams and milliliters.
What is to be considered for both Holle and HiPP is that a bulk order provides lower cost per unit due to the shipping costs.
Parents are usually pleased to discover that European organic baby formula are comparable to the organic formulas in the U.S., despite the huge quality differences. European organic baby formula in general is very affordable.
Holle organic baby formula has a little price difference in their cow milk versus goat milk formulas.
HiPP Organic formula prices differ from country to origin and according to the need for special or sensitive requirement baby formulas like HiPP Anti- Reflux or HiPP HA. The standard product is about 8% cheaper than comparable Holle products. In average, this would be about 10 $ less per month for your baby formula.
Also, it is good to know that both Holle and HiPP baby formula are available throughout the year, neither of them tends to go out of stock.
Below you find an overview of price per fluid ounce in HiPP and Holle and their different product lines.
Keep in mind that the prices are calculated based on a single box purchase. The prices per unit would be less when you order in bigger quantities.
4. Options for allergies, sensitivities and reflux
Whether Holle or HiPP is better and more suitable to your baby largely depends on your baby’s needs. Your child’s individual needs have to be kept in mind, for example its nutritions needs, sensitivity and tolerance are decisive when it comes to choosing the right product and brand. If you are unsure, it is a good option to consult a pediatrician before ordering, so they can suggest the ingredients that are most suitable for your baby’s growth and health.
While regular organic formula might be suitable for most babies, others might need an adjusted formula when struggling with insensitivities or digestive problems.
Therefore, HiPP offers formulas addressing different issues:
HiPP Hypoallergenic contains hydrolized milk protein and is therefore low in allergens and is suitable for babies with lactose intolerance or sensitivity.
HiPP Comfort is very similar to HiPP HA but in addition has a reduced lactose content and a special fat structure that makes it more tolerable.
HiPP Anti Reflux is designed particularly for babies fighting with reflux. It contains the thickening agent bean gum, that has the proven effect to reduce reflux.
HiPP has these three product lines to meet your baby’s individual needs and to counter digestive issues.
Holle offers Holle organic goat milk for babies who struggle with sensitivity or intolerance of cow’s milk protein. The proteins in Holle organic goat milk are smaller and less allergenic, which is suitable for babies with sensitive stomachs.
Please note that you should always meet a pediatrician before switching to a special HiPP formula or to Holle goat milk formula.