Milking It – How Milk Formula Companies are Putting Profits Before Science

October 2017 Report
Milking It 1

Executive summary

Infant and young child feeding is key to improving child survival and promoting healthy growth and development worldwide. Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) strongly recommends breastfeeding as the optimal way of feeding infants, many women cannot or choose not to breastfeed their children. In those cases, parents are faced with an ever-increasing variety of milk formulas.

This report represents the first investigation into the four largest manufacturers’ (Nestlé, Danone, Mead Johnson Nutrition1 and Abbott) cow’s milk formula products for infants under 12 months old, and the price differences between them, across 14 global markets.

It concludes that increasing product differentiation is not science-based, but instead informed by careful research into consumer preferences, guided by a desire to increase manufacturers’ market share and profits. Finally, this report calls for an overhaul of the existing formula product range to ensure it is informed only by the best available science, and that formulas are as safe and nutritionally complete as possible.

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