ATNI’s vision is that an affordable, healthy diet is the global norm for everyone. While all stakeholders need to take action to achieve this goal, ATNI believes that food and beverage companies can and must be part of the solution to the world’s nutrition challenges, given their scale and reach.
ATNI’s assessments of BMS (breast-milk substitutes) marketing practices evaluate whether baby food companies that produce these products (i.e. infant formula and other products that are marketed as a partial or total replacement for breastmilk) market their products in line with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.
ATNI believes that it is essential for companies to contribute to optimal infant and young child nutrition (IYCN). From conception to two years old, nutrition within the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is particularly important. Breastfeeding is a crucial element of IYCN. Increasing breastfeeding to near universal levels could prevent over 820,000 deaths of children under five each year and provides lifetime protection against a range of illnesses. That is why the WHO recommends that babies everywhere are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, at which point safe, appropriate complementary foods should be introduced to meet their evolving nutritional requirements. The WHO also notes that complementary foods should not be used as BMS, and infants and young children should continue to be breastfed until they are two or older.
The WHO and UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutrition requirements infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. This is because breastfeeding is critical to prevent infant deaths, combat undernutrition and reduce the risk of mothers and children developing a range of illnesses.
How BMS marketing is addressed in the Global Access to Nutrition Indexes
Because of the importance of IYCN, each edition of the Global Access to Nutrition Index includes a BMS marketing sub-ranking that scores and ranks the world’s six largest baby food manufacturers. They include four food and beverage sector companies – Danone, FrieslandCampina, Kraft Heinz and Nestlé – and two other companies – Abbott and RB/Mead Johnson Nutrition (RB/MJN).
The BMS marketing sub-ranking scores of the four food and beverage sector companies will be reflected in their overall scores and ranking in the 2018 Global Access to Nutrition Index. The two other companies were assessed to provide a more complete comparison of the world’s major baby food producers.
The third Global Index is due to be published in the second quarter of 2018. The six companies’ BMS marketing policies and practices are assessed using ATNF’s methodology, which measures the extent to which they market their BMS products in line with the recommendations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (The Code) and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions.
While the findings and combined results of BMS 1 and BMS 2 can be found in the Global Index reports once published in the second quarter of 2018, ATNF is releasing each BMS In-country assessment report as it is completed, ATNI BMS Marketing Thailand 2018 report and ATNI BMS Marketing Nigeria study 2017 are available online.BMS Report Global Index 2018