Wolf touts state investment in new Berks formula manufacturer

Young mother Isabella Torres talks about the difficulty of finding infant formula with the current shortage. –

Governor Tom Wolf and a number of other state officials were in Reading Wednesday to promote the state’s investment in the new ByHeart infant formula manufacturing facility that opened there in March. 

Now in operation at a time when the nation is dealing with a significant shortage of infant formal, Wolf told employees of ByHeart that their work was more important than ever. 

“This is a new way for nursing children to get what they need at a time when there is a shortage,” he said. 

He noted that Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program provided a $1.75 million grant towards the expansion at the facility. 

ByHeart is one of only five infant formula manufacturers in the country and is the first new formula manufacture to open in the U.S. in the past 15 years. 

ByHeart acquired the facility in 2019 and updated it rather than using a third-party contract manufacturer as is more common in the industry.    

Mia Funt, president and co-founder of ByHeart said five years ago her company set out to take ownership of the formula supply chain to create a healthier formula, which is closest to actual breast milk. 

But she said she was pleased that besides reaching their goal to create a better formula for infants, they were able to open at a time when there was a critical need to bring more formula to market to make up for the shortages. 

“Our commitment was to create a formula closer to breast milk,” Funt said. “Little did we know how important that decision would be today. 

Among those speaking at the event was Isabella Torres, a young mother who lives in Reading who will be attending college in the fall. 

She said despite her efforts to breast feed her son, ultimately, she chose to feed him infant formula and it’s been a struggle to find the formula he needs. 

“They say breast is best, but I say fed is best,” said Torres. 

She expressed her gratitude to ByHeart for bringing more formula to market so that mothers can provide for their babies. 

Wolf also said the new manufacturing facility is a strong boost to the Berks County and Pennsylvania economy. 

“There is no other state in this country that can lay claim to what is going on here,” he said.