December 6, 2023


Business&Finance Specialists

WHO reveals shocking extent of exploitative system milk promoting

4 min read

System milk providers are paying out social media platforms and influencers to gain immediate accessibility to expecting girls and moms at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. The global formula milk business, valued at some US$ 55 billion, is focusing on new moms with personalised social media written content that is frequently not recognizable as marketing.

A new World Health Group (WHO) report titled Scope and influence of digital marketing and advertising procedures for selling breast-milk substitutes has outlined the digital marketing and advertising strategies developed to affect the choices new people make on how to feed their toddlers.

By means of equipment like apps, digital aid groups or ‘baby-clubs’, paid out social media influencers, promotions and competitions and information community forums or solutions, system milk corporations can obtain or obtain personal information and deliver customized promotions to new expecting gals and moms.

The report summarizes conclusions of new research that sampled and analyzed 4 million social media posts about toddler feeding printed amongst January and June 2021 working with a commercial social listening platform. These posts reached 2.47 billion people and produced far more than 12 million likes, shares or reviews.

Method milk corporations put up material on their social media accounts all-around 90 times for every day, reaching 229 million users representing a few occasions as several men and women as are achieved by informational posts about breastfeeding from non-professional accounts. 

This pervasive promoting is raising purchases of breast-milk substitutes and consequently dissuading mothers from breastfeeding solely as advisable by WHO.

“The promotion of industrial milk formulas must have been terminated decades ago,” reported Dr Francesco Branca, Director of the WHO Nourishment and Foodstuff Security section. “The simple fact that system milk firms are now using even a lot more highly effective and insidious promoting strategies to push up their revenue is inexcusable and have to be stopped.”

The report compiled proof from social listening investigate on general public on the net communications and personal place studies of investigate that screens breast-milk substitute promotions, as very well as drawing on a modern multi-nation research of mothers’ and well being professionals’ ordeals of system milk advertising. The experiments show how deceptive promoting reinforces myths about breastfeeding and breast milk and undermines women’s self confidence in their means to breastfeed correctly. 

The proliferation of worldwide electronic promoting of formulation milk blatantly breaches the Global Code of Marketing and advertising of Breast-milk Substitutes (the Code), which was adopted by the 1981 Environment Health Assembly. The Code is a landmark general public wellbeing settlement intended to safeguard the common general public and moms from intense advertising methods by the child food stuff sector that negatively impact breastfeeding procedures.

Despite clear proof that unique and continued breastfeeding are essential determinants of enhanced lifelong wellness for small children, females and communities, much way too couple of young children are breastfed as encouraged. If recent system milk marketing strategies keep on, that proportion could fall even now further more, boosting companies’ earnings.

The truth that these types of digital promoting can evade scrutiny from national monitoring and well being authorities signifies new ways to Code-applying regulation and enforcement are needed. At present, countrywide laws might be evaded by advertising and marketing that originates beyond borders.

WHO has called on the newborn food stuff marketplace to finish exploitative system milk internet marketing, and on governments to protect new children and households by enacting, checking and implementing rules to conclusion all promotion or other marketing of formulation milk merchandise.

# # #

Notes to Editors

About the investigate

Proof of exposure to and impression of electronic breast-milk substitutes marketing and advertising was gathered from many sources for this report. These contain a systematic overview of the literature, social listening investigate, a multi-region study of mothers’ and wellness professionals’ knowledge of breast-milk substitutes advertising, individual place studies of breast-milk substitutes promotions and an investigation of existing lawful measures to carry out the Code.

WHO produced an exterior steering committee of experts from across WHO locations to recommend on the layout and methodology of the evaluation and the report. Issue subject professionals have been chosen for their abilities in social science, epidemiology, promoting, world-wide wellness, nourishment, psychology and client actions, human rights legislation, Code monitoring and implementation plan. Issue matter authorities have been drawn from all WHO areas, with the exception of the Japanese Mediterranean Area.

This is the first time WHO has made use of a social media intelligence system to deliver insight into the marketing techniques of multi-countrywide system milk suppliers and distributors. Social media intelligence platforms keep track of social media for mentions of outlined key phrases or phrases, which they get, organize and assess. This field typical tactic “listens” to the billions of daily exchanges and discussions that consider put among social media customers close to the entire world and on other digital platforms, these kinds of as internet sites and forums.

This investigation captured electronic interactions that happened between 1 January and 30 June 2021, referenced infant feeding across 11 languages and 17 nations around the world, which together account for 61% of the global population and span all six WHO locations.

About WHO

The Entire world Well being Organization gives worldwide leadership in community overall health inside the United Nations process. Started in 1948, WHO functions with 194 Member States, throughout six locations and from 149 offices, to market well being, hold the globe protected and serve the susceptible. Our purpose for 2019–2023 is to make certain that a billion far more people have common wellness protection, to safeguard a billion a lot more individuals from wellbeing emergencies, and supply a more billion people today with far better wellbeing and wellbeing. 

For updates on COVID-19 and community health guidance to secure by yourself from coronavirus, visit and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTube and Twitch and marketing