Nestlé launches PR offensive over baby milk

NestléUK is at the centre of a new international communications programme designed to tackle controversy over the marketing of baby milk head-on.

Nestlé UK is at the centre of a new international communications programme designed to tackle controversy over the marketing of baby milk head-on.

In an internal newsletter, the company admits the primary focus of the programme is the UK because criticism of Nestlé’s infant formula marketing practices is particularly strong here.

The move comes seven months after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint from pressure group Baby Milk Action about a Nestlé ad claiming the company is an ethical and responsible marketer of baby milk (MW April 15).

Nestlé’s move coincides with the introduction of the Nestlé Junior food range – aimed at children aged between one and three.

In the internal document, communications and corporate affairs director David Hudson says Nestlé need not be “on the defensive” and should tell people about “our impressive contribution to those developing countries in which we have operated over many decades”.

Politicians, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties have been sent a letter from Nestlé chief executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. It includes a copy of Nestlé’s 180-page report to the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on a new process for monitoring the company’s compliance with its code on the marketing of breast-milk substitutes.

Baby Milk Action campaigns and networking co-ordinator Mike Brady says: “Brabeck-Letmathe is heading for a public relations disaster. It would be better if he made the necessary changes to the marketing practices.”

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