Who benefits from undermining breastfeeding? Exploring the global commercial milk formula industry’s generation and distribution of wealth and income
The global commercial milk formula (CMF) industry is known to systematically undermine breastfeeding around the world, thereby reinforcing a preventable public health and human rights crisis. The aggressive marketing of CMF products by the industry, for instance, is recognised as one of the key reasons behind the poor global progress in improving breastfeeding rates. The CMF industry is also known to use a range of political strategies to prevent the effective and widespread adoption of regulations by national governments, such as marketing regulations, intended to protect and promote the health of their citizens. One of the key political messaging strategies used by the CMF industry as part of its efforts to avoid or weaken regulation is to portray its importance to economic development and prosperity for national economies, especially those of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Such claims, however, have rarely been subjected to critical analysis. Given these considerations, this report sets out to provide an alternative picture of the global CMF industry’s contribution to economic development and prosperity for national economies by critically examining the industry’s generation and distribution of wealth and income.