By Benjamin Wood, Diarmid O’Sullivan, Phillip Baker, Tuan Nguyen, Valerie Ulep, & David McCoy
The substitution of breastfeeding with artificial commercial milk formula (CMF) feeding remains one of the big global public health challenges of our times. When compared to breastfeeding, artificial formula feeding increases health risks for mother and baby, hinders optimal child development and causes more environmental harm. It is also expensive. And yet, CMF sales are booming. One reason for this is that large and powerful oligopolistic CMF companies have the financial power to deploy sophisticated marketing and political strategies to grow demand for their products and prevent effective regulation of the industry.
Who benefits from undermining breastfeeding? present new research on the economics of the CMF industry with particular reference to the size and concentration of CMF markets around the world and how the wealth and income generated by the industry are distributed across society, including to governments through taxation and to corporate shareholders.