Middle East

Milk powder makers still using “unethical” marketing techniques

A code was set by WHO in 1981 to regulate the industry after a scandal in the 1970s when Nestlé was accused of discouraging mothers from breastfeeding, especially in developing countries.

The author of the report and several outside experts say it’s time to reform the international marketing code for breast milk alternatives. (Reuters)

The United Nations has accused milk powder makers of “unethical” marketing strategies, actively targeting expected parents and healthcare professionals, and prioritizing shareholder interests over child health.

According to a report from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, M & C Saatchi, marketing methods keep women away from breastfeeding, from providing free samples to executives launching and joining “groups of moms” with popular messaging apps. , Can include anything.

“This report very clearly shows that marketing powdered milk is unacceptably popular, misleading and aggressive,” WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

UNICEF Chief Catherine Russell called for “strong policies, laws and investments in breastfeeding to ensure that women are protected from unethical marketing practices.”

It also covers healthcare professionals, including all practices prohibited by international guidelines for marketing powdered milk, from gifts, funding for research, to commissions from sales.

WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for newborns, if possible, as a healthier option.

Studies show that breastfeeding women also have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Call for reform

The author of the report and several outside experts said it was time to reform the international marketing code for breast milk alternatives.

This code was set by WHO in 1981 to regulate the industry after a scandal in the 1970s when Nestlé was accused of discouraging mothers from breastfeeding, especially in developing countries.

“Are there areas to enhance the code? No doubt,” said Nigel Rollins, lead author of the report and WHO scientist.

Milk powder and tobacco are the only two products that have international guidelines to prevent marketing.

Nonetheless, only 25 countries have fully implemented the code in the law, and over the last 40 years, milk powder sales have more than doubled and breastfeeding rates have only increased slightly, WHO said. Says.

The infant formula industry is currently worth $ 55 billion annually.

According to the report, more than half of the 8,500 parents in the eight countries surveyed (Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Vietnam) reported exposure to marketing, many of them. Was violating the code. ..

The report, entitled “How Infant Formula Marketing Affects Infant Breastfeeding Decisions,” also includes interviews with marketing executives and 300 healthcare professionals. The biggest one.

In China, 97% of the women surveyed were exposed to infant formula marketing. It was 84% ​​in the UK and 92% in Vietnam.

More than one-third of women in all countries say that healthcare professionals recommend certain brands of infant formula.

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Danone's marketing is 68% according to the rules and Nestlé is 57%.

Danone’s marketing is 68% according to the rules and Nestlé is 57%. (Reuters)

Misunderstanding message

This code can provide factual information about infant formula and recognizes the importance of infant formula for women who are unable or unwilling to breastfeed, but the main reasons for low breastfeeding rates worldwide. States as a marketing practice.

WHO recommends breastfeeding alone for at least 6 months of age, but at this time only 44% of babies of this age are breastfed this way.

According to a major 2016 study, improving breastfeeding rates until this milestone can save the lives of more than 800,000 babies annually.

An index created by the Access to Nutrition Initiative in 2021 found that some companies are more code compliant than others. For example, Danone’s marketing is 68% according to the rules and Nestlé is 57%.

However, all three major companies operating in China (Feihe, Mengniu, Yili) scored zero.

read more:
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Source: TRT World and distributors

https://www.trtworld.com/life/baby-formula-milk-makers-still-using-unethical-marketing-techniques-55031?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Milk powder makers still using “unethical” marketing techniques

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