Baby formula has lots of fancy labels, and its difficult to know if the different colors and words on the labels have a serious meaning.
All baby formula meets FDA nutrition requirements. Most baby formula has similar amounts of nutrients with 1 exception, the ‘premature’ type. The premature label has around ~20%-30% more nutrients.
Outside of that, the big ingredients are pretty similar from brand to brand, milk, oil, protein powder, corn syrup/sugar and various vitamins.
There are some brands that include probiotics, swap milk for soy, etc… if you wanted these qualities, you could compare oz/$ and look for those ingredients.
The goal of this study was to find the lowest cost baby formula, and ensure we were getting adequate nutrition. If individual ingredients are your style, you can check the data in .xlsx format which includes 13 samples with ingredients typed out.
Rank is calculated as Sum of all(X Vitamin/ X Vitamin Max) divided by the total number of vitamins. A score of 1 is best, a score of 0 is worse. Any duplicates are various sizes.
Given the FDA has nutrition requirements and most stores provide the oz/$, you can essentially do this study at your local store with a quick glance. The only added benefit here is the comparison of nutrient amount. The nice part is that the data confirms nutrients are pretty similar.
Some casual commentary from the engineer that has been doing this research for years- I find it ‘funny’ that Walmart brand has the worst quality on the cheapest product(as shown in rank). In the dog food study, the Walmart versions had a number 1 ingredient of corn, while other stores had a number 1 ingredient of meat. The other Walmart brands performed better for quality, and even the lowest cost is competitive for quality. I wonder what is going on that causes brand name to be literally 2x more expensive.
We currently buy Parents Choice Gentle Infant Formula to supplement breast milk(which is the cheapest if you eat better than 200 calories per dollar).
With extra time, I’d research every ingredient, normalize for spelling/abbreviations, and see the commonalities/differences. From a quick glance, I am not concerned unless you really want probiotics/immune system stuff. At that point, its a simple comparison between the options that contain your desired ingredient.