Don’t Push It: Why the formula milk industry must clean up its act

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Save the Children International,Save the Children UK

The lives and the health of millions of vulnerable children are at risk from a threat that receives too little attention – the rapid growth of the market for baby milk formula. The unique life-saving and life-enhancing benefits of breastfeeding are proven. However, the global market in breast-milk substitutes is seeing a five-fold increase in two decades that far outstrips the world’s population growth. By 2019 that market will be worth more than $70 billion – more than a tenth of the GDP of a rich country like Switzerland.

Much of this growth stems from powerful marketing campaigns that have led mothers to limit or abandon breastfeeding. Six companies today are among the leaders of the aggressive global promotion of milk formula and other foods for very young children – Nestlé, Danone, RB (who recently acquired Mead Johnson), Abbott, FrieslandCampina and Kraft Heinz.

Save the Children, Action Contre la Faim, BRAC, FHI 360, Helen Keller International and SUN-Pakistan call on manufacturers and distributors of breast-milk substitutes, investors and governments to create a race to the top to help millions of children get the healthiest start in life.

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