Nestle in India – Breastfeeding first 1000 days


Nestle in India is up to something – and has latched on to the UN 1000 days initiative (along with Times of India) to improve baby health and I can’t help but wonder why. I’ve been a Nestle boycotter for 4 solid years now. As in I don’t buy Kit-Kat or Hot Pockets (well they’re also not healthy). In India I have continued this – I don’t buy Nescafe (most popular coffee is Nestle Instant here instead I buy a brand called Bru – it tastes better as well). Basically I don’t buy anything Nestle. My kid’s know this as well. They see Maggi noodles and I say “sorry its Nestle” and they don’t ask twice.

Nestle has a poor history, especially in India.

I’ve written in the past about a job posting I saw in which Nestle was searching for sales – I mean nutrition officers. Now breast milk substitutes (formula) has a time and place – but poor people who live on $3 a day and do not have access to clean water are not those people. Thus I didn’t understand their call for science-sales people to go and chat up doctors in rural areas. As we know it is against the World Health Organisation’s code for marketing of breast milk substitutes to distribute (directly or indirectly (ie via hospitals or doctors) samples to pregnant women. We know this is common practice in the US, but few fail to realize it is actually against the code to have coupons and special displays as well. It also says specifically, personnel employed in marketing products in this scope (ie formula) should not

“perform educational functions in relation to pregnant women or mothers of infants and young children”

Nestle is still guilty of these parts AND so many others. Now here’s the thing, the WHO isn’t a “law” but it is a Code that has valid points. Here we are in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week and Nestle has a front page advertising with babies. Now they are saying breastfeeding = strong babies, but they’re still Nestle and they still are looking to gain buyers. They’re still known to “green” their image.

So here’s one shot from a recent advertisement the Times of India where Nestle is supporting breastfeeding. Is this something they are choosing to do for image-sake or is this something that they’re being required to do due to past regulation skirting? I can’t help but wonder.

Nestle Times of India
Nestle and Times of India using celebrities to promote healthy babies. Is this a “nestle” desensitization campaign?

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  1. Hmmm, I’m curious now too. I’ve seen a lot of larger scale companies jumping on the “healthy alternative” band wagon lately and it really makes me wonder.

    1. Exactly. When a company doesn’t stand to make money off of something – I wonder what their long-term goal is. Green washing in its finest.

  2. It feels like they are promoting to skirt some guidelines. I hate companies that push chemicals on our families.

  3. Not supporting Nestle… just thought to mention how it is extremely common for people living in rural India to feed their babies a sugary water/milk mixture, when they no longer or can’t or won’t breastfeed. So for these people, maybe feeding their babies formula is a better option. The government, through advertisements on local “free” TV channels etc, have been promoting breast feeding and encourage mothers to keep doing so for a minimum of 6 months and also encouraging new parents to feed their newborn colostrum instead of expressing it and throwing it out!

    1. I agree there is progress being made in advertisement (when I would visit before I saw nothing positive for breastfeeding) to now I see it a lot on the tv and in the newspapers. However I do think we need to find a way to get more clean water to all families. More support for breastfeeding over all since formula is too expensive for most families to manage.


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