Why Formula Companies Love “Breast is Best”

Don’t be mislead by the seemingly generous use of the “Breast is Best” slogan by formula companies. In Fleur Bickford’s post in the Nurtured Child blog learn how they make this slogan serve their own purposes.

From Nurtured Child - http://blog.nurturedchild.ca/index.php/2011/06/07/why-formula-companies-love-breast-is-best/

Why Formula Companies Love “Breast is Best”

June 7, 2011

My husband and I often talk to our children about marketing. We want them to be aware of how companies try to get people to buy their product(s), so that they can make more informed choices and don’t fall prey to clever marketing tactics (“Do you think those shoes can really make you fly?”).

I think this is something that we need to be aware of when talking about infant feeding as well. When I get into a conversation about formula companies, I often hear “Well formula companies can’t be all bad because it says right on their website and on the cans that “breast is best!”. This is very true. If you go to any formula company website, or if you look at a can of formula, you will see messages about “breast is best”. Does this mean that formula companies truly believe that and want all moms to breastfeed? The answer to that is a resounding No! What is does mean is that their marketing division with their millions of dollars has determined that putting that message on their product won’t hurt sales. The formula industry is worth billions, and it is not against throwing it’s weight around to make changes to anything that it feels might jeopardize it’s profits. In 2004, they did just that when they opposed the new breastfeeding ads that the US government was planning to unveil. The ads were eventually replaced with a watered down version due to pressure from the formula companies. So if formula companies believed that putting the phrase “breast is best” on their websites and products would hurt sales, you can be sure that they would be making a fuss about it.

So why do formula companies love “breast is best”? …

Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada
esterken@infactcanada.ca