Let’s Understand the International Code of Marketing for Breastmilk Substitutes
Have you ever received “gifts” in the form of baby formula milk or a bottle of post-natal nipples from the hospital where the mother gave birth? Have you ever been called by a telemarketing officer from a baby formula company? Or have you ever seen a Mother and Child Health book, a scale, or a hospital playground that includes a distinctive decoration and logo for a particular brand of baby formula? If the mother answers YES. Did you know that the above matters are a way of the World Health Organization (WHO) Code of Marketing for Replacement of Breastmilk (ASI), in which infant formula is included in one of the products of breastmilk substitutes (PASI).
Some time ago, an online mass media discussed the problem of infant marketing formulas in Indonesia. One of them discusses the “Sins” of the baby ethical marketing formula. The formula for promoting, marketing and circulating babies is aggressive and violates the Code of Ethics reducing public understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding and breastfeeding. The perception that breast milk and breastfeeding are no longer the main choices for meeting the baby’s intake.
The baby brands turning Indonesian Instagram into free formula ads
Multinational baby formula companies, such as Nestlé and Danone, are using social media to market to consumers in South East Asia in ways that raise serious concerns they may violate World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The companies have changed their advertising tactics during the coronavirus outbreak and are also using mothers to create online marketing material, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.
Formula milk producers in Indonesia are intensifying social media advertising during the pandemic. They hook mothers through various programs. Bureau Investigative Journalism suspects the companies violated the WHO code.
By Syailendra Persada, Hussein Abri Dongoran and Rosa Furneaux
Formula Milk Manufacturers Are Not Afraid of International Codes of Conduct
In May 2016, Irma Hidayana, doctoral candidate in health and behavior at Columbia University, United States, released a report entitled “Violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes: Indonesia Context.” This report states that 15 percent of respondents out of 874 women they interviewed said they had received free samples of formula milk from health workers.
Milking It – How Milk Formula Companies are Putting Profits Before Science
This report represents the first global investigation into infant milks being sold for babies under 12 months old from the four leading companies: Nestlé, Danone, Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott. The report analyzed more than 400 infant formula products sold across 14 markets and the price differences between them. Despite the fact that the nutritional composition of infant milks is regulated by a global standard, the companies sell a wide range of products that have additional nutrients or ‘better’ ingredients or claim to be solving general conditions, such as preventing allergies or promoting better sleep or respond to general consumer concerns, such as offering GMO-free products. Our research also revealed large disparity in the prices of formula within and between countries. While the same brand of formula can cost 17 USD in the UK, in China the price is 55 USD. This leads to large disparities in family spending of infant feeding; while in Western Europe parents spend 1-3% of average salary on feeding an infant, in China this can be between 15-40%. The report concludes that increasing product differentiation is not science-based, but instead informed by careful research into consumer preferences, guided by a desire to increase manufacturers’ market share and profits.