Butters, Spreads & Oils


Functional Ingredients

Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS)

Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) is a food ingredient with prebiotic properties, derived from cow’s milk, it is a non-digestible carbohydrate.  GOS is widely recognised to  encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. The most common use for GOS is as an ingredient in infant formula as it has been shown to help aid digestive health. Oligosaccharides are the third most prominent component in human breast milk after lactose and fat, hence GOS is added to infant formula to better emulate human breast milk.

In 2014 Dairy Crest established a joint venture with Fayrefield Foods to form Promovita Ingredients Limited to develop and manufacture GOS. In 2015, Dairy Crest bought out its joint venture partner and now fully owns Promovita Ingredients Limited.

We have a strategic partnership with Fonterra who sell our GOS as part of their paediatric portfolio. Fonterra is the world’s largest dairy exporter and is therefore able to leverage its strong, commercial relationships globally to support sales of Dairy Crest’s GOS for use in infant formula.

Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS)

Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) Info

Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) is a prebiotic; a non-digestible food ingredient that stimulates the growth of specific, health-promoting bacteria in the digestive system. Dairy Crest GOS is made from 100% cow's milk derived lactose in an enzyme catalysed reaction process at our plant in Davidstow, Cornwall, UK. Dairy Crest GOS is available in various formats including 57% polymer syrup, 70% polymer syrup and 70% polymer powder. All these variants are also available as organic products.

In research studies it has been shown that potential benefits of GOS, through beneficial changes in the gut microbiota and their fermentation products, include improved digestive health, mineral absorption and immunity1, 2

Our sales and marketing partner Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, sells our GOS under their SureStartTM brand to infant formula manufacturers globally. For more information please visit the Fonterra website

GOS is added to infant formula powder typically in the range of 5-8% , depending on dilution, to emulate better the functionality of human breast milk, which contains 5-15 grams of non-digestible oligosaccharides per litre of milk3, 4. In a series of trials involving GOS in a prebiotic mixture, it was determined that the dietary supplementation of prebiotics to newborn children resulted in an increase in beneficial gut bacteria (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli)3. In addition research has shown that the preventive use of prebiotics decreases the rate of infections that require antibiotic treatment in infants and children aged 0–24 months5.

Dairy Crest GOS is also suitable for other applications and is branded Promovita® GOS for food and Nutrabiotic® GOS for animal nutrition.

Promovita® GOS is available directly from Dairy Crest and is suitable for a variety of food applications including yoghurts, cereals and nutritional supplements. Prebiotics may beneficially influence health beyond early childhood. As well as promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, prebiotics have the potential to increase the bioavailability of essential minerals, such as calcium from the diet, an important benefit for children and adults6

Nutrabiotic® GOS is available directly from Dairy Crest and is suitable for animal nutrition applications including chickens, pigs, veal calves, fish and pets. The animal husbandry industry faces key challenges with increasing global demand for protein as well as pressure to improve animal welfare, and pet owners are placing an ever greater emphasis on the well-being and health of their companion animals. In our research we have shown that Nutrabiotic® GOS can improve performance through a stable and beneficial balance of the gut microbiota and the production of fermentation products that lead to improved nutrient absorption, immune function and natural resistance.

Academic and farm trials using Nutrabiotic® GOS in chicken and piglet feed have shown potential multiple benefits. These include over 10% increase in weight gain, over 10% improvement in feed efficiency, greater beneficial bacterial counts, improved nutrient absorption, reduction in Campylobacter levels and maintained levels of performance despite Campylobacter infection. Dairy Crest continues to conduct further academic and commercial trials with various partners.


  1. 1. Macfarlane et al. (2008) “Bacterial metabolism and health related effects of galacto-oligosaccharides and other prebiotics” Journal of Applied Microbiology 104(2) 305-344
  2. 2. Whisner et al. (2013) “Galacto-oligosaccharides increase calcium absorption and gut Bifidobacteria in young girls: a double-blind cross-over trial.” British Journal of Nutrition 110(7) 1292-1303
  3. 3. Srinivasjois et al. (2013) “Prebiotic supplementation in preterm neonates: updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials” Clinical Nutrition 32(6) 958-965
  4. 4. Bode, L. (2012) “Human milk oligosaccharides: Every baby needs a sugar mama.” Glycobiology 22(9) 1147-1162
  5. 5. Lohner et al. (2014) ”Prebiotics in healthy infants and children for prevention of acute infectious diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis” Nutrition Reviews 72(8) 523-531
  6. 6. Slavin (2013) “Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits” Nutrients 5(4) 1417-435

GOS production

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Functional Ingredients enquiries: please contact us at dcorders.ingredients

0044 (0) 1372 472422


This information is intended for business to business customers and health care professionals and is not meant for consumers. This information represents Dairy Crest's best judgement on the performance features of each ingredient and provides no warranty on the accuracy of the information presented.