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Global trends and patterns of commercial milk-based formula sales

Research snapshot1

The marketing of infant/child milk-based formulas (MF) contributes to sub-optimal breast-feeding and adversely affects child and maternal health outcomes globally. However, little is known about recent changes in MF markets. This study describes contemporary trends and patterns of MF sales at global, country and regional levels.

The authors carried out a descriptive study of trends and patterns in MF sales volume per infant/child for the years 2008-2013 and projections to 2018. Data were extracted from the Euromonitor Passport Global Market Information database. Data from 80 countries were available, categorised by World Bank income brackets: 15 lower-middle income countries (LMICs); 6 upper-middle income countries (UMICs); and 39 high-income countries (HICs). These data represent 280,220,000 infants and young children aged 0-36 months in 2013. MF categories included total (for ages 0-36 months); infant (0-6 months); follow-up (7-12 months); toddler (13-36 months); and special (0-6 months).

Results of the study show that between 2008 and 2013, world total MF sales grew by 40·8%, from 5·5 to 7·8kg per infant/child/year, a ?gure predicted to increase to 10·8kg by 2018. Growth was most rapid in East Asia, particularly China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and was led by the infant and follow-up formula categories. Sales volume per infant/child was positively associated with country income level, although there was wide variability between countries.

This indicates that a global, population-level infant and young child feeding (IYCF) transition towards diets higher in MF is not only well underway but is expected to continue, and at a rapid pace in some regions and countries. The observed increase in MF sales raises serious concerns for global child and maternal health, particularly in East Asia, and calls into question the ef?cacy of current regulatory regimes designed to protect and promote optimal IYCF.


Footnotes

1Baker P, Smith J, Salmon L, Friel S, Kent G, Iellamo A, Dadhich JP, Renfrew M (2016). Global trends and patterns of commercial milk-based formula sales: is an unprecedented infant and young child feeding transition underway? Public Health Nutrition, 20 (1), pp165-173.


 

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Global trends and patterns of commercial milk-based formula sales. Field Exchange 55, July 2017. p17. www.ennonline.net/fex/55/globaltrendsandpatterns