Sunday, 4 October 2009

My thoughts on #nestlefamily

I've sat and watched a big drama unfold on Twitter over the past few days. Seems that Nestle invited a bunch of bloggers to LA, paid for their hotel/air fare and gave them the opportunity to ask questions and test products. Bloggers tweeted using the hashtag #nestlefamily leading up to, during and after the event.

However many of the bloggers attending the event have been criticised for not being aware of Nestle's chequered history regarding formula marketing, child labour and other issues. Annie at PhDinParenting sums up the problems many people have with Nestle that have led to there being an international boycott of their products that has been going on since the 1970s. Some tried to make it about breastfeeding versus formula, commenting that mothers in the Third World who are malnourished are unable to breastfeed their infants, and therefore Nestle is doing an honourable thing in giving them formula samples. This is, in most cases, not true. If Nestle really wanted to improve the health of people in developing countries they'd give food to the mothers, NOT formula to their infants.

I did see name calling on both sides of the #nestlefamily debate - but if I'm honest, I saw the worst offences coming from those defending Nestle, with the boycotters being called Nazis and Communists, at the same time making jokes about child labour and talking enthusiastically about cookie dough. Most of the bloggers attending were respectful to the cause but one thing that has bothered me is how so many took Nestle's responses at face value (see Lauredhel's critique of this) yet stated that sites like IBFAN and BabyMilkAction were biased and therefore not to be taken as an objective source. To this I would say - Who actually stands to benefit, financially? IBFAN and BabyMilkAction are non profit organisations.

On a positive note I feel this has brought a lot of attention to the boycott, which can only be a good thing!


  1. Well said! So much is heard about ethical consumption why ARE people so blinkered to nestle!!!??? their own attempt at WOM makketing went ass up!

  2. Thanks, Sarah.

    I did notice that many of the people who were defending them on Twitter stated that they formula fed their own children. What I think many missed is that it's not about breastfeeding versus formula, I think this blinds some people to the real issue at hand, which is ethical marketing practices, or the lack of!

  3. I don't know ... I commented on someone's blog about my thoughts about how much they actually changed by telling big corporations what they would buy Ie. watered down juice boxes being the example used in the particular blog post and I felt somewhat attacked as being granola-y. I responded and somehow got branded as starting another mommy-war between granola and disposable consumerism.

    Up until that moment I really had NO PROBLEM with the NestleFamily bloggers, I just thought of them as fluff. But now I get it: The company is just trying to maximize it's selling capabilities and has chosen the people most likely to help them out. And these women will ensure we pay more for less. And really? I don't understand a mother who will pay more for water down juice,

  4. In that respect I guess they did choose the right people... Although I felt sorry for those people stuck in the middle of all of that. Who knows if I was considered an influential enough blogger and had been invited whether I would have gone, I don't really fault them for going, whether they knew about the boycott or not. But a couple of them I noticed's blogs are reading like a Nestle ad right now lol.

    No I don't see the point in buying watered down juice either!

  5. Add me to the list of people who don't get the 'I'll pay more money for watered down juice' thing either.