Thursday, 10 February 2011

Formula marketing again.

Seen in our local Jumbo store:  this sign in the infant formula section.

The manager at the Jumbo store doesn't seem to think it's a problem.  After all, the sign is just there to tell people where the infant formula is.

And what about the cute little white baby sucking down the bottle of formula?  What kind of message is that sending?

The International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes says:

There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of this Code.


there should be no point- of-sale advertising, giving of samples, or any other promotion device to induce sales directly to the consumer at the retail level, such as special displays, discount coupons, premiums, special sales, loss-leaders and tie-in sales, for products within the scope of this Code. 

Interestingly, Article 9.2 of the Code also specifies that:

Neither the container nor the label should have pictures of infants, nor should they have other pictures or text which may idealize the use of infant formula.

I would argue that this sign is a "special display" and that, given that the Code prohibits photos on the containers of the cans, a display sign with a warm and fuzzy photo of the mother with a baby drinking from a bottle should also be considered a "promotional device to induce sales" of the infant formula at Jumbo.

Of course, given that there is no real government or law enforcement agency here in Madagascar these days, I doubt that much if anything will be done about this infraction.


Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mel said...

Dear Globetrotter Parents,
I am a mother of a little boy who is 4 months this weekend. I am breastfeeding him.
However, I have nothing against the mother that are giving formula to their babies because they do not want to or can not.
Don't you think that it is great alternative to have milk formula for the mothers that can not breastfeed ? So there is a market there for the different brands of formula...
Thank you

The Globetrotter Parent said...

Dear Melanie, I have nothing against formula where breastmilk is not available and/or the mother has made a conscious and informed decision not to provide her baby with breastmilk. What I am against is the mass marketing of formula as the "normal" milk for babies. I am particularly against marketing infant formula in countries where many if not the majority of mothers would not be able to afford infant formula on a long term basis and do not necessarily have access to the clean water required to be mixed with infant formula.

According to UNICEF, 1.5 million babies die every year because they were given infant formula rather than breastfed.

Mel said...

Dear Globetrotter Parents,
Ahhh je vois... I did not understand your whole opinion, but it does make sense what you just said ! I do share you opinion, sorry I did not get it the 1st time around :)
I will take the opportunity to congratulate you on your blog, me and my husband read it often and we relate to it. I am French from Aix en Provence and my husband Cuban and we met in Toronto and are living here with our little boy of 4 months. We do a trilingual life as well !