We remain surprised by Consumer Report’s assessment. Our formula settings are based on extensive testing in our lab to ensure the Formula Pro Advanced dispenses the proper formula to water ratio unlike Consumer Reports’ testing.
Once Consumer Reports contacted Baby Brezza with its assessment results, our Formula Testing team reacted in the same way we would if a consumer expressed similar questions. Our team immediately purchased multiple cans of the Similac Advance OptiGro Powder formula in multiple sizes from multiple retailers and retested the formula to validate our setting. After completing this testing, we confirmed that Setting 4 is the correct setting which delivers 8.7g of powder (+1g tolerance which accounts for natural formula variability) per two ounces of water on average. We also discovered that this particular brand/type of powder has significant variability across different cans and packaging sizes but on average, setting 4 is the setting that delivers the proper formula to water ratio.
We contacted the Similac Customer Service team and they confirmed that there is variability in this formula powder which can cause differences in scoop weights. They added that this variability in weights doesn’t affect the nutritional benefits of their formula because their powder formulations and usage recommendations take this variability into account. They explained there are two different types of variability that affect the weight of their formula when scooped:
- Similac’s manufacturing variability since they make this formula and other formulas in different batches and at different production plants with each batch and plant manufacturing slightly differently but within assigned acceptability ranges
- Consumer variability regarding different hand scooping techniques
The Similac Customer Service Team also added that these differences do not affect the health or development of the baby because babies regulate their nutritional intake and will eat more or less if they are hungry.
We believe the reason for the discrepancy between Consumer Report’s testing results and Baby Brezza’s is the significant natural variability that Similac confirmed exists in the Similac Advance OptiGro Powder formula and Baby Brezza know exists formula powder in general. This variability occurs within a specific can of formula and across different cans of the same brand/type of formula and occurs for many of the same reasons that Similac’s own Customer Service team explained:
- Formula is a powder that is scooped out based on volume (i.e. a scoop) but is supposed to be properly dispensed based on weight
- Oftentimes, if you scoop formula from the same can more than once using the same scoop, you’ll likely end up with different weights. This is caused by density differences within a can of formula due to compacting (i.e. the top is fluffier and weighs less and the bottom is denser and weighs more) and human behavior in which a person will add slightly more or less formula when scooping multiple times. In fact, the error caused by human behavior has been estimated to be up to 25% of the formula weight specific by the manufacturer in published studies
- Scoops of formula across different cans of the same brand/type of formula can weigh differently because of density differences within a can BUT also manufacturing variability within and across production lots. For ex, two cans or lots can have slightly different levels of key ingredients which affect the formula consistency/density and ultimately its weight
Interestingly, Consumer Reports experienced this same natural variability in its own testing. A level hand scoop in their first assessment of the Similac Advance OptiGro Powder formula weighed 8.6g (0.1g less than the stated label weight on the Similac package label) while in their 2nd assessment, one level hand scoop weighed 9.3g (0.6g more than the stated label weight).
Baby Brezza is aware of this variability and conducts its formula setting testing procedures to reduce the impact of this variability as much as possible. We test formula powders multiple times a year and test multiple cans of the same brand/formula purchased from different retailers to reduce the impact of variability. Also, after pouring in a new can of formula into the powder container for our formula setting testing, we mix the formula around to reduce the variability that might occur within the can. We also test 10 samples for each brand/type of formula and pick a setting based on the average weight dispensed of all 10 samples. We have used this formula setting testing procedure for 11 years and it has worked successfully to ensure the Formula Pro products deliver the proper formula to water ratio specified by the formula manufacturer.