NestlÃ© 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 NestlÃ©’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 NestlÃ© ad claiming the company is an ethical and responsible marketer of baby milk (MW April 15).
NestlÃ©’s move coincides with the introduction of the NestlÃ© Junior food range – aimed at children aged between one and three.
In the internal document, communications and corporate affairs director David Hudson says NestlÃ© 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 NestlÃ© chief executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. It includes a copy of NestlÃ©’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.”