BMS Index 2024

H&H

PDF

Headquarters

China

Type of ownership

Public

Estimated percentage of H&H's global F&B sales from BMS

95%

Estimated percentage of H&H's global baby food sales from BMS

100%

Countries covered in country studies

China

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BMS Marketing
Score 2024
Average score Highest score
Country Studies
Score
0%  1 country
Corporate Profile
Score
40.8%

Important:

The research findings regarding companies’ performance in this Index are based on information shared by companies or gathered by service providers, in addition to information that is available in the public domain.

The level of detail and comprehensiveness of information shared by companies and gathered through external service providers varied. In the case of limited or no engagement by companies, this Index may not represent the full extent of their efforts. Similarly, in the case of limited data collected by service providers, the findings of this Index may not provide a comprehensive representation of company practices.

ATNI’s research and Indexes do not assess compliance with local regulations or laws, but rather assess private sector performance against international standards and guidance.

BMS Country Studies

Country Studies
Score
0%  1 country

The Country Studies component of the BMS and CF Marketing Indexes 2024 evaluates the extent to which a company’s marketing practices align with specific provisions of the Code. The main areas of marketing assessed in the Country Studies for the BMS and CF Marketing Indexes 2024 are online points-of-sale, traditional and online media outlets, and product labels. In this Index, a total of five countries were selected for the assessment. H&H BMS products are mainly sold in China which represents around 99% of H&H’s estimated global BMS sales. The China Country Study results for H&H are summarized below across each marketing channel.

Country Studies overview

H&H Country assessments BMS market
Total incidences of non-compliance across online, traditional media, and product labels Number of product labels assessed Company brands found BMS market share Proportion of H&H's global BMS sales
CHINA 63 19 Biostime 4% 99%
GERMANY N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
INDONESIA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
US N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
VIET NAM N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Code compliance level
Complete
(0 incidences of Code non-compliance corresponding to a country score of 100%)
High
(>0-10 incidences of Code non-compliance corresponding to a country score of 66%)
Medium
(>10-20 incidences of Code non-compliance corresponding to a country score of 33%)
Low
(> 20 incidences of Code non-compliance corresponding to a country score of 0%)

• A total of 63 incidences of non-compliant marketing practices for BMS products were found for H&H in China.

• While the company possess a small share of the Chinese BMS market (~4%), H&H’s BMS sales in China represent ~99% of the company’s global BMS sales. In total 42 advertisements and promotions related to BMS brands were found online, and two TV advertisements. All 19 product labels assessed contained several instances of non-compliance per product.

Observed incidences of non-compliance with the Code per country

Absolute number of incidences of non-compliance
Category
Infant Formula
Follow-up Formula
Growing-up Milk
Product brand

Main in-country findings

A total of 63 incidences of non-compliant marketing practices were found for H&H BMS products in China. The majority of incidences of non-compliance (42) were found through the social listening of online platforms. Many incidences of non-compliance (19) were also attributed to inappropriate product labels. The remaining incidences of non-compliance (2) were found in traditional media. The incidences of non-compliance found online were largely concerning growing-up milks, whereas non-compliant labels were found across all types of BMS products.

Online findings

• A total of 42 incidences of non-compliance were found for H&H BMS products and associated brands from the company’s social media platform and online retailers. Among these observations, seven were found to be point-of-sale promotions in products which were mainly growing-up milk and follow-up formula, from online retailers that the company confirmed they have a contractual relationship with. Apart from advertising BMS – a non-compliance with the Code in itself – other common incidences found included various incentives for the purchase of the company’s BMS products, including discounts, gifts and offers.

• The remaining 35 incidences of non-compliance were found on H&H’s Weibo channel 35 online advertisements were observed of H&H’s BMS products and brands, with an average of three incidences of non-compliance per ad. Also, it was observed that almost 31 out of 35 of the ads contained at least one type of claim. Apart from advertisements found – a non-compliance with the Code in itself – other common incidences found included incentives for product purchase (such as prizes and discounts) and promotion of bottle feeding.

Traditional media findings

• During the research period, two BMS advertisements from H&H were found on television in China, a non-compliance with Article 5 of the Code. Both advertisements concerned brand promotions (no age was specified). Both advertisements included a nutritional, health and marketing claim.

BMS product label

• Of the 19 H&H product labels assessed in China, all 19 labels contained several incidences of Code non-compliance. The average number of non-compliances was found to be four per label assessed.

• From the H&H’s product labels assessed it was found that none included the complete statement on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding for up to 2 years or beyond. Most labels (16 out of 19) did not contain the statement to only use the product on the advice of a health professional before deciding to feed with formula, irrespective of the age at which formula is introduced. The assessment found that 10 of the 19 labels assessed contained at least one type of claim, mainly nutritional claims.

• It is worth noting that ATNI did not have the resources to collect products from the different markets and take pictures of their labels. In this iteration, ATNI’s research was based on product label images from an external provider. For some products, images were not clear enough or did not show all parts of the package, thus ATNI asked the respective companies to provide images of the labels. H&H provided images of all product labels (as requested by ATNI) to help complete the assessments, therefore all assessments are completed.

Recommendations

• With the total number of 63 incidences of non-compliant marketing practices observed in China, H&H is strongly encouraged to strengthen its responsible BMS marketing policies and ensure their full alignment with the recommendations of the Code and all subsequent relevant resolutions, including the guidance supported by WHA resolution 69.9. ATNI has developed a model company policy on the responsible marketing of BMS which can guide the company on how to incorporate Code provisions and align with the latest public health requirements in practice.

• H&H is urged to restrict the advertising and promotion of all types of BMS products and brands on all forms of media platforms. Specifically, the company should refrain from incentivizing the purchase of those products by offering discounts and prizes, and the company should refrain from the promotion of bottle feeding.

• H&H is strongly encouraged to take responsibility for monitoring its marketing practices beyond local regulations, according to the principles and the aim of the Code and subsequent relevant resolutions, and to take steps to ensure this includes online media channels.

• H&H is encouraged to engage with its industry associations, retailers and/or regulators to ensure that there are no promotions of BMS products in the retail environment, and see that products are appropriately marketed in line with the Code.

• Given that all the labels assessed in China were found to be non-compliant with the Code requirements, H&H is encouraged to focus on improving labeling practices across all markets to ensure full compliance with the Code and all subsequent relevant resolutions, including the guidance supported by WHA resolution 69.9.

• Clear evidence was found of H&H applying point-of-sale promotions for growing-up milks and promoting these on online platforms, which is contrary to the requirements of the Code, specifically the guidance supported by WHA resolution 69.9 that extended the scope of the Code to growing-up milks. Therefore, ATNI urges H&H to ensure its commitments are extended to include growing-up milks.

• ATNI is calling on H&H to review all incidences of non-compliance identified across all marketing channels, which were shared in detail with the company, and to take corrective action in each of the markets.

BMS Corporate Profile

Corporate Profile
Score
40.8%

The Corporate Profile component of the BMS and CF Marketing Indexes 2024 evaluates the extent to which a company’s policies align with various provisions of the Code, the effectiveness of its related management systems as well as the company’s level of disclosure on commitments relating to BMS marketing. H&H’s BMS marketing commitments were assessed across 11 topics that cover different aspects of the Code on which the company scored an average of 50%. This score is equivalent to the company’s initial overall Corporate Profile score before a geographic penalty (if applicable) is applied to each BMS product type. The final Corporate Profile score considers how the company’s BMS marketing commitments are applied for the different BMS product types sold by the company, and across different markets. As H&H sells infant formula, follow-up formula, and growing-up milks, the company’s application of BMS commitments was evaluated for each product type, as shown in the next section on ‘Geographic application of BMS commitments by product type’. The scores and findings on each topic are described in further detail in the section below on ‘BMS Commitments by Topic’.

Geographic application by H&H of BMS commitments by product type

The table below shows the percentage of product sales where commitments are upheld and the geographic penalty applied to each type of BMS. The penalty ranges from 0% up to 90% depending on whether a company fully upholds its BMS marketing commitments in all or none of the countries in which it operates, respectively, where national Code regulations are absent or less stringent than the company’s policies and standards.

Corporate Profile
score before
penalty
Product
type
Percentage of H&H’s global sales from markets where BMS commitments are upheld Geographic
penalty applied
Final Corporate
Profile score
49.8% Infant
formula
100% 0% 40.8%
Follow-up
formula
100% 0%
Growing-up
milk
0% 90%
Commitments are upheld
Upheld for all products in this category - without exception - globally
Upheld for some products in this category - without exception - globally
Upheld for all products in this category - without exception - only in some markets
Upheld for some products in this category, and only in some markets
Not upheld for this product category in any market
No policy found in the public domain nor shared by the company, therefore no information on how commitments are upheld

ATNI referred to H&H’s Responsible Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes Policy (2023) to assess how the company’s BMS marketing commitments are upheld for each product type and in which markets. Euromonitor retail sales estimates were used to calculate the proportion of H&H’s global product sales covered per BMS product type.

Infant formula

The company explicitly showed its commitment for this product type, in all countries in which it operates, even where local Code regulations are absent or weaker than the company policy. This represents 100% of the company’s global infant formula sales, therefore no geographic penalty was applied to this product type.

Follow-up formula

The company explicitly showed to uphold its commitments for this product type, in all countries in which it operates, even where local Code regulations are absent or weaker than the company policy. This represents 100% of the company’s global follow-up formula sales, therefore no geographic penalty was applied to this product type.

Growing-up milk

The company does not apply its BMS marketing commitments to growing-up milks. This is evident from the country assessments where the majority of the observed incidences of non-compliance were attributed to growing-up milk products.

The corresponding geographic penalty for this product type is a maximum of 90%.

ATNI calls on H&H to consider the expanded definition of the Code, following the World Health Assembly resolution 69.9 recommendations, to cover any milk products up to three years of age.

Based on the company’s application of its BMS commitments to the different BMS product categories across its global markets, the final Corporate Profile score is 41%.

Topics Overview

Average score Highest score
These represent the initial overall scores before applying the penalty.

BMS commitments by topic

Most topics include assessments on both policy commitments and management systems, except for the topic on ‘Implementation and Monitoring’, which mostly considers management systems, and the topic ‘Overarching Commitments’, which considers policy commitments only. A separate topic assesses the level of disclosure and transparency practiced by companies on the different aspects of the Code.

Select one of the 11 topics from the drop-down menu below.
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