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April 24th, 2012

Nestlé Targets Developing Nations for Bottled Water, Infant Formula Sales

By Darcey Rakestraw

Yesterday, Nestlé announced it had purchased Pfizer’s infant nutrition unit, which will strengthen their ability to sell infant formula in emerging markets, particularly in Asia. The move is not surprising, since 85 percent of Pfizer’s infant nutrition revenues came from developing countries, where Nestlé is also looking to expand its sales of bottled water.

How do we know this? Nestlé has declared both its Pure Life brand of bottled water and infant formula as “Popularly Positioned Products” (PPP) that target “less affluent consumers in emerging markets”. Two weeks ago, we mentioned Nestlé’s report outlining this strategy in this blog. For some reason, the report is no longer available on Nestlé’s site without the requisite log-in information. But we’ve reposted the document here.

Yesterday, our executive director, Wenonah Hauter, released this statement in response to Nestlé’s purchase of Pfizer’s infant nutrition unit:

This renewed focus on growing the market for its infant formula products is troubling given the corporation’s track record of using dubious practices to market infant formula in developing countries, where it is often prepared in unhygienic conditions with unsafe water….Surely, it is no coincidence that many mothers will prepare the formula with bottled water—which will no doubt benefit Nestlé’s emerging market strategy.

Selling bottled water to poor people, and pushing infant formula on poor but otherwise healthy mothers who may not have access to safe drinking water is doing what Nestlé does best: undermining public health in the name of profit.

For more on Nestlé’s plan to market bottled water in developing nations to offset the drop-off in sales from developed countries, read our report, Hanging on for Pure Life.

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