Infant-formula makers use social media and influencers to focus on girls and enhance gross sales, undermining efforts to extend breastfeeding charges, in line with a brand new examine by the World Well being Group.
Firms use personalised content material by way of apps, paid influencers and recommendation boards to achieve customers, the WHO report stated, including these are sometimes not recognizable as promoting.
The outcomes construct on the WHO’s largest ever examine on toddler components advertising and marketing, and are available at a difficult time for infant-formula makers. The pandemic has led to decrease beginning charges simply as competitors from native rivals has change into extra intense in key market China. Nestle SA, for instance, has been making an attempt to revive the enterprise in that market, whereas Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc has began a sale of its child diet enterprise after exiting China final yr.
The report analyzed 4 million social media posts about toddler feeding revealed within the six months by way of June final yr. The posts reached virtually 2.5 billion individuals, in line with the report. It discovered that corporations promoting components uploaded content material round 90 occasions per day, reaching 229 million customers — thrice as many individuals as are reached by informational posts about breastfeeding from non-commercial accounts.
A livestreamer promotes toddler components at a livestreaming base throughout Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s annual November 11 Singles’ Day on-line buying occasion in Hangzhou, China, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.
Qilai Shen/Bloomberg by way of Getty Pictures
“This pervasive advertising and marketing is rising purchases of breast-milk substitutes and due to this fact dissuading moms from breastfeeding completely,” the report stated.
The advertising and marketing practices of infant-formula firms differ extensively, Marie Chantal Messier, Nestle’s head of meals and business affairs, stated following the publication of WHO’s preliminary report in February. The Swiss firm doesn’t promote components for infants as much as 12 months in 163 international locations, and can voluntarily cease selling components for infants as much as six months across the globe by the tip of the yr, she stated.
“Danone encourages maternal breastfeeding and even encourages the WHO suggestions, as one of many first firms to additionally cease promoting merchandise from 0 to 6 months,” CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique stated on the firm’s AGM earlier this week. He stated Danone is “extraordinarily accountable in its method.”
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