Abbott’s nutrition business can be traced to modest beginnings where science, ingenuity and commitment came together with groundbreaking results.
Over the decades below, Abbott Nutrition has grown to become Abbott’s biggest division, representing 31 percent of sales in 2013. With a continuing emphasis on customer-focused innovation that led to dozens of product launches, serving markets in more than 100 countries worldwide. Abbott Nutrition has with plants and distribution centers located to serve customers globally, including new plants in India, China and the United States. This business is a central part of Abbott’s commitment to help people live healthy and thrive.
- 1903: Harry C. Moores and Stanley M. Ross founded the Moores & Ross Milk Company in Columbus, Ohio.
- 1925: Moores and Ross took the daring step of producing and marketing milk-based infant formula—a new concept at the time. The product was originally known as Franklin Infant Food, and later changed its name to Similac®.
- 1951: Similac Concentrated Liquid, the first infant formula available in a form other than powder in the United States, was introduced. It soon became the most popular product in the United States infant-formula market.
- 1959: Ross introduced Similac with Iron, the first iron-fortified infant formula in the United States. It came in both powder and concentrated liquid forms. Today, iron-fortified formula is the preferred source of nutrition during the first year of life if breastfeeding is not chosen.
- 1961: Similac expanded to overseas production with a new plant in the Netherlands.
- 1962: For infants with special medical conditions, Similac PM 60/40, a reduced-mineral formulation relative to Similac, was introduced.
- 1964: Ross merged with Abbott Laboratories, one of the world's largest health care corporations.
- 1966: A soy protein isolate formula, Isomil®, was introduced to meet infant feeding needs. Pedialyte® began distribution in the United States as the first ready-to-drink oral electrolyte solution.
- 1973: Ensure®, the first lactose-free medical nutritional product in the United States, was introduced.
- 1978: Osmolite®, an isotonic, low-residue oral enteral formula, and Vital® HN were introduced.
- 1981: RCF® (Ross Carbohydrate Free) formula was introduced for children unable to tolerate the type or amount of carbohydrates in standard infant formula.
- 1985: Pulmocare®, the first enteral nutrition product in the United States designed for patients with pulmonary disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), was introduced.
- 1988: PediaSure® was introduced to bridge the gap between the specialized feeding needs of infants and adults.
- 1989: Glucerna®, a disease-specific nutritional product formulated for patients with abnormal glucose tolerance, was introduced.
- 1991: Nepro®, a nutritional product for dialysis patients and Promote®, a high-protein formula, were introduced.
- 1992: Perative®, a nutritional product for metabolically stressed patients, was added to the disease-specific medical nutritional line.
- 1994: Similac NeoCare, now Similac NeoSure®, was introduced as the first formula in the United States to address the nutritional needs of premature infants after hospital discharge.
- 1996: Jevity® 1.2 CAL, a high-nitrogen and fiber-fortified liquid formula containing fructooligosaccharides (FOS), was introduced, along with Pedialyte Freezer Pops.
- 1999: Glucerna Shakes and Glucerna Snack Bars were launched. In addition, SimilacWith Iron Ready To Feed formula in a 32-fl-oz aseptic bottle was released. This design won the Industrial Design Excellence Award the following year.
- 2000: Similac Human Milk Fortifier was introduced.
- 2002: Similac Advance®With Iron, an iron-fortified infant formula supplemented with DHA and ARA, was launched.
- 2003: Ross acquired ZonePerfect® Nutrition Company, a leading marketer of nutrition bars and other products for active people.
- 2004: Juven®, therapeutic nutrition clinically shown to help reduce muscle breakdown and build muscle tissue, and EAS®, a sports nutrition company with a strong portfolio of brands including EAS, AdvantEDGE, Myoplex, and Body-for-LIFE, were acquired.
- 2005: Muscle Armor™, an EAS brand, was launched.
- 2006: Similac Organic was launched. It is the first certified USDA organic infant formula from a major formula brand.
- 2007: Ross becomes Abbott Nutrition. In addition, Glucerna introduced an expanded line of products, including a new breakfast cereal formulated specifically for people with diabetes, and a new line of snack shakes and mini-snack bars, which provides in-between meal options that help to manage blood sugar spikes.
- 2008: Similac produced its first formula that included a blend of prebiotics, nucleotides and carotenoids found in breast milk.
- 2011: Abbott launches Glucerna® Hunger Smart™ shakes featuring more protein for people with diabetes
- 2012: Abbott’s ZonePerfect brand introduces a new line of nutrition bars, Perfectly Simple with 10 or fewer ingredients and free of gluten, preservatives and added coloring.
- 2013: Abbott provided Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid nutritional supplement for preterm human milk. This is used to supplement human milk for preterm babies and is used in NICUs in hospitals across the U.S. Similac also launches a formula designed for breastfeeding moms who choose to supplement.
- 2014: The Ensure Active line of shakes launched; offers targeted nutrition with high quality protein, 20 essential vitamins and minerals to help active adults stay healthy and energetic. Abbott opens new manufacturing facilities in India, China and the United States.
- 2015: Similac® Advance® NON-GMO is introduced, the first leading infant formula brand labeled non-GMO, which indicates its ingredient are not generically engineered. Abbott opens a new pilot plant in Singapore to better serve customers in the Asia-Pacific area.