Why European Baby Formula Is Better + Holle Baby Formula Review (2023)

by Holly
holle infant formula

There are a lot of choices when it comes to baby formula, and it can be hard to decide which one is best for your child. Some people may choose to go with a European baby formula, like Holle, because they believe that it is the best option available.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why European baby formula are thought to be better than other brands, as well as review Holle’s specific formula. By the end of this post, you should have a good understanding of why many parents prefer European baby formulas and whether or not Holle baby formula is the right choice for your family.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

How we started with European baby formula

Baby W had a dramatic entry into the world and was only 4 pounds when he was born. Packing on weight for our underweight baby seemed like the sole purpose of my motherhood.

Being health-conscious parents ourselves, I wanted to give the best nutrition to my baby, more so to an underweight one. 

A family member introduced me to Holle, a European baby formula, and swore it is the best out there.  I diligently did my own research and what I found opened me to a completely different lens into the infant formula industry.

Here are the main reasons why European Baby formulas are superior to American ones.

Tighter regulation in Europe on baby formulas

The European Commission requires that infant formulas contain no detectable levels of pesticide residues.

This means that all European infant formula is organic.

There are also specific provisions on hygiene and the presence of contaminants that may be in contact with the infant formula.

Additionally, the European Union (EU) is much more conservative with additives in formulas than we do. These additives are banned in the EU that are often found in American formula: sucrose (sugar), carrageenan, taurine, L-Carnitine and L-Methionine, lutein, lycopene, nucleotides.

Below is the ingredients list from an American Pediatrician recommended infant formula brand. The highlighted ingredients are banned in the EU but yet present in this extremely popular infant formula!

European baby formula

Banned ingredients commonly found in American baby formula


Babies inherently crave for sweets because it is essential for their metabolic function. As such, breastmilk is naturally sweet. In order to make formula taste sweet, most American makers use sucrose in formulas so that babies will drink it. The problem here is that sucrose is plain table sugar.

Would you give sugar to your baby? I wouldn’t. 

Too much sugar causes obesity,  insulin resistance, diabetes, ADHD, and the list goes on.

You will not find sucrose in European formulas. Instead, to make their milk sweet, European formulas use maltodextrin and lactose which are healthier alternatives than sucrose.


Carrageenan is a  “natural” ingredient derived from seaweeds. It is an increasingly common ingredient in many processed foods, as they act to thicken, emulsify and stabilize products. Some brands of nut milk, yogurt, and even Pediasure have it. Here is a list of foods that contain carrageenan if you’re interested.  It is also in a lot of American infant formula.  

Numerous studies have shown that carrageenan causes inflammation which leads to gastrointestinal disorders and even cancer! Regardless of the numerous studies, FDA still approves this additive in infant formula. However, EU has banned carrageenan for this use.

Taurine, L-Carnitine and L-Methionine, Lutein, Lycopene, Nucleotides

These synthetic ingredients are BANNED in the European Union in organic formulas. Most of these ingredients are healthy and needed in our body, BUT the source that these ingredients are coming from is not natural.

RELATED POST: 21 Brain-Boosting Developmental Activities For Infants (0-3 Months)

Why I made the switch to Holle baby formula

Holle organic formula

Holle is the very first European baby formula brand I tried with Baby #1 because of the praises from my mommy friends.

In fact, the company has been making baby formula since 1933.

I like Holle because it has different stages that are tailored nutrition.  

Each stage contains different key ingredients that are tailed for a baby’s needs. This is really important because the baby at different stages will require different needs for nutrients.

A newborn’s need for milk will be different from a baby who is also taking solids.

holle formula chart
Source from Organic Formula Shop

A baby at different stages will require different needs for nutrients

Holle baby formula review


Biodynamic farms

Cows are raised on biodynamic farms that integrate all the living organisms within the system, including plants, livestock, and farmers.  Cows are fed on herbs and grass naturally fertilized by the maneuver. It’s just a circle of life. This means no pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Cows are raised in a humane environment

Demeter farm standard: Cows on Demeter farms are raised in a uniquely humane and caring environment. For example, they don’t remove a cow’s horns which is a painful procedure for the animal. Besides being inhumane, horns are important for a cow’s digestion and metabolism.  In return, the milk produced contains more nutrients and good fatty acids. Happy cows produce happy milk 🙂

Completely organic

Demeter biodynamic processing standard also delivers the highest purity of agricultural ingredients. This means no genetically modified ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Oh, and this is the Demeter “stamp”.  When you see this logo on the box, it means that the product is produced under Demeter biodynamic standards. AKA highest standard organic quality!


Pediatrician acceptance

Since Holle organic infant formula is not overseen by FDA standards, your pediatrician may not recommend formulas not produced in the US. You have no way of knowing if there will be a recall on the European baby formula because it isn’t regulated by US FDA.

Addition of palm oil

In order to mimic fatty acids found in breast milk, you’ll often see palm oil in the ingredients list. Holle organic infant formula is no exception.

This is a drawback because the palmitic acid from palm oil is not absorbed properly by the body. Research has shown that calcium and fat absorption is lower in babies given formula with palm oil.  

At first, I was hesitant about giving it a try due to the palm oil issue especially Baby W was very underweight. However, palm oil is not the only source of fat in the formula; it also contains Rapeseed oil and Sunflower oil. I’m also happy to report that Baby W is thriving with amazing weight gains so the palm oil in the milk has no effect on his health at all.

More expensive than American infant formula

Depending on the brand you are comparing, Holle infant formula can be $0.02 more per gram than American infant formula. This is why I always buy bulk to take advantage of more savings.

Get started with Holle baby formula today and save $5 OFF! with code SOCALMOMMY

Where to buy Holle baby formula?

Now that I’ve decided on Holle organic infant formula, how do I get on hands on them since they’re not sold in US stores?

There are tons of suppliers online, but it is important to get a GREAT supplier because we’re talking about our baby’s food here.  You don’t want to overpay and certainly not get an authentic product. Besides authenticity and reasonable prices, a great supplier to me is:

  • ships directly from Europe
  • astounding reviews
  • has a variety of products
  • free shipping
  • good customer service

After days of searching, I decided to order from Organic Formula Shop.

BONUS: Get $5 off your order with code SOCALMOMMY!

Organic Formula Shop was founded by health-conscious parents like you and me. Their climate-controlled warehouse is based close to the European manufacturers. This means that all of their formulas are shipped straight from the Netherlands (aka expiration dates are way out in advance).

Another perk is that they offer FREE expedited shipping. I’m in California and I usually receive my orders within 3 days straight from Europe!

Holle formula

What is the price? Is it a good value?

Here is the current price per box for each stage.

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Final verdict on European baby formula

I wish that I could tell every parent that European baby formula means a safer option without the added synthetic chemicals found in its American counterpart. I truly think that we’ve found the perfect one for my underweight son.  My heart is assured that Baby W is getting the best organic formula!

Have you ever tried a European baby formula? Why or why not? Let me know by leaving a message below.

Holle European baby formula review
European baby formula review

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