Cross Branding - how this can harm infant and young child health

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Cross Branding - how this can harm  infant and young child health

A  BMJ study looked at the impact of idealised images and cross branding (in this case Nestlé's  Mother and Baby bear logo on coffee creamer )  in LAOS  one of the world's  poorest countries.  It s relevant and pertinent to the ongoing discussions in Codex. 

The  paper can be found on this link is HERE:


Coffee creamer is clearly NOT a breastmilk substitute and the packaging states that it is not. BUT because of the BRANDING (in this case the Bear Brand logo with the Mother and Baby Bear) parents are misled to the detriment of their babies' health.   

According to the BMJ study:

•Of 1098 adults surveyed,

•96% believed that the can contains milk;

•46% believed the Bear Brand logo indicates that the product is formulated for feeding to infants or to replace breast milk;

  • 80% had not read the written warning on the can;

Paediatricians have encountered infants and children admitted to hospital with protein calorie malnutrition who had been fed this product exclusively and often reported similar stories (see box).



The cartoon logo influences  people’s perception of the product that belies the written warning “This product is not to be used as a breast milk  substitute.”

Use of this logo on coffee creamer is misleading to the local population and places the health of infants at risk

•3 month old infant dies in hospital from complications of severe malnutrition and pneumonia.

•Mother stopped breast feeding and bought the coffee creamer with the Bear Brand logo. 

•She understood the creamer was not for use instead of breastmilk, but noted that the can had a mother bear with a baby bear on its label, and that people in her village consider this an acceptable infant food.


The Bear Brand logo’s non-verbal message implies that the product contained is intended for infants. The powerful visual message is not mitigated by the addition of warning text or by the confusing symbol of the feeding bottle with a cross through it. The sale of coffee creamer with this logo places the health of infants and children at risk in a developing nation that already has extreme levels of malnutrition.

See this link for NGO concerns about marketing in Laos

Laos.pdf117.06 KB