Cost of living crisis, rising formula prices and key messages to share with formula feeding parents

First Steps Nutrition Trust has just launched their new Cost of Living Crisis campaign which focuses on the issue of the rising price of formula milk, which is hitting the families with the lowest income the hardest.

As we all know, breastfeeding is the best way of feeding infants – but where breastfeeding is not possible or desired, all first-stage infant formulas can meet a healthy baby’s nutritional needs from birth to 6-months. Despite the powerful marketing claims of the formula milk industry, there is no ‘best formula’. All infant formulas must meet the same regulations regarding nutrition composition.

The old saying, “You get what you pay for”, DOES NOT apply to formula milk. The price differences between brands are not related to health or nutrition benefits, and some will have inflated prices to appear higher quality, or are marketed to families with a higher income.

The iHV is joining with First Steps Nutrition Trust to raise awareness of these common misconceptions across social media. The following hashtags are being used #EndExploitativeMarketing and #EndExploitativeCosting with links to the First Steps Nutrition Trust’s parent resources, Infant milks for parents & carers, which provide evidence-based, independent information on infant milks and formula feeding.

There are also specific evidence and research-based resources about Infant milks, for health workers.

First Steps Nutrition Trust is a charity that offers information and resources to support good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years. Their aim is to produce clear and independent resources to support people who want to know more about eating well before and during pregnancy, eating well for infants and young children, and food composition and food quality. They take no industry funding and fully support the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly Resolutions.

Toddler milks, also called growing-up milks, are a relatively new product to the market aimed at 1-3 year olds. Their sales are growing fast – 46% of parents who had a child over one were asked by Which? if they had used them.

However, the government’s advice is that they are not necessary and in October 2013 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also published an opinion stating that these milks provide no additional value to a balanced diet.

The EFSA opinion also said their ‘scientific experts could identify “no unique role” for young-child formula in the diet of young children.’ Furthermore, while the composition of baby milk and follow-on formula is strictly regulated, toddler milks are not covered by similar composition legislation and there are no controls on how they can be promoted.