International Nestlé-Free Week 2010 or Boo Nestlé

Nestlé-Free Zone

Nestlé is one of the most boycotted brands in the world. The International Nestlé-Free Week begins today to get those who already boycott to promote it and share their reasons with others and for those who don’t already boycott, to give it a try for just one week. Together we stand. Together we make change happen.


The primary reason that Nestlé has been boycotted so long and so widely is due to the aggressive marketing of infant formula around the world which violates the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, undermining breastfeeding and causing infant deaths. Nestlé’s marketing and business practices have directly and indirectly caused countless babies to die, most noticeably in developing nations. This part of the world is where the aggressive nature of Nestlé’s marketing becomes even more appalling and ultimately harmful.

Nestlé’s marketing strategies include:

  • aggressively targeting medical professionals and giving free samples to hospitals.
  • giving enough free samples to interfere with breastfeeding, but not enough to give an impoverished baby enough nutrition to be healthy and thrive.
  • using misleading terms on their packaging that indicate its infant formula is better for babies than breastmilk like “protect” logos, claims it is ‘The new “Gold Standard” in infant nutrition’, and false claims of health benefits of using their infant formula.
  • either not providing important information about the importance of using clean water, sterilized bottles, and the proper amount of formula in relation to water or it is not in the appropriate language.

Around the world, 1.5 million infants die each year because they were not breastfed. This is particularly striking in the developing world. Undermining breastfeeding for greater profits is a crime against babies, and us all.

This is not an issue about infant formula. Many people, for many reasons, have a great need to feed their babies formula and they should have safe options to do so. This is about corporate accountability, social responsibility, safety, and choice.

You might wonder if the boycott has made any significant impact. I would venture to say, not enough. We need more voices. But there have been strides made:

The boycott has:

  • stopped Nestlé representatives from going into hospitals dressed as nurses.
  • stopped Nestlé from putting pictures of babies on their labels.
  • caused Nestlé to agree to translate warning on labels into the language of the country where the products are sold. (Even though this has not been found to be true in all cases.)
  • exposed Nestlé for the human rights violator that it is to more and more people every day.

Interested in doing more?

  • Avoid buying any Nestlé products this week, including for Halloween. Check out this very comprehensive list from Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.
  • Share what you have learned, what you know. Blog, Facebook, twitter, plus real in-person connections with friends and neighbors can make a huge difference.
  • Send an email to Nestlé letting them know what you think about their marketing tactics and the boycott. Or go here or here if you want to see a suggested message.
  • Check out Boo Nestle, Baby Milk Action, and PhD in Parenting for more information, research, and actions to take.

Stop by tomorrow for another reason we should say Boo to Nestlé, their use of child and slave labor! I will continue to explore the violations against humanity and their environment all week…


International Nestlé-Free Week 2010 or Boo Nestlé — 5 Comments

  1. Thankyou for adding your link to my own Anti-Nestlé post, we really need to get this message heard.

    The more people who learn about the underhanded and criminal activities that Nestlé perform in the name of profit the better.

  2. I love Nestle and will always stand behind them. I think this boycott has gone on long enough. So many people don't even know why they are boycotting, the are just jumping on the bandwagon. Did anybody ever think that maybe people in 3rd world countries CAN'T breastfeed because they themselves are starving and cannot produce?! Did you know that Similac and Enfamil and other formula companies also market and send formula to the hospitals in these countries?! How silly to blame that on Nestle. And how ridiculous (in my humble opinion) to throw statements out there that 1.5 million babies die every year because they are not breastfed. How many babies in those country die every year because the ARE breastfed because the Mom can't afford formula and she doesn't produce enough to breastfeed?! These are all things to take into consideration too!

  3. I know exactly why I am boycotting. It has not gone on long enough, because Nestle has refused to take human lives and environmental cost into consideration. They lie, they are unethical, and they are the biggest of the bad. That is why they are targeted around the world.

    I also think very much about women that are unable to breastfeed, everywhere, for whatever reason. That is why I said this:

    "This is not an issue about infant formula. Many people, for many reasons, have a great need to feed their babies formula and they should have safe options to do so. This is about corporate accountability, social responsibility, safety, and choice."

    It is also about better access to breastfeeding resources and support for women who need it.

    This also not just about infant formula. My internet was down today and so my post is not up yet, but I will also not support Nestle due to its flagrant sourcing of cocoa from horrifying slave and child labor. Again, they are not the only company doing so, but Nestle is the biggest of the bad. Leaders can make change or defy it. I will continue to boycott Nestle until significant changes are made.

    One more thing. I don't throw statements out there without something to back it up. The World Health Organization says:

    “It is estimated that around 35% of infants aged 0 to 6 months are exclusively breastfed in the world today. But if all babies and young children were breastfed exclusively for their first six months of life and then given nutritious complementary food with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age, the lives of an additional 1.5 million children under five would be saved every year.”

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Its late here but I like to just clarify one of the things you brought up in your post. It is extremely rare for a woman to not make enough milk, regardless of her diet. 1 in 1000 actually. When women are supported in breastfeeding their children thrive. Also although ideally a breastfeeding mother's diet would be complete and healthy, one of the great things about breastmilk is that is continues to be a rich source of nutrition even in women with poor diets ( ) In the rare case of a woman not making enough milk no one is saying that child should starve, but the marketing of breastmilk substitutes is dangerous especially in the third world.

  5. Thank you Laura for making the comment about the rarity of a woman not being able to produce enough milk based on diet. That is a common breastfeeding myth…one of so many out there. What really needs to happen is that more education needs to get out there to all mothers and mothers to be, doctors, nurses, day cares, etc. about breastfeeding. As a new mom who has chosen to breastfeed, and still breastfeeds her one year old son (and will continue to do so until he weans himself), I am astonished, dismayed and discouraged at the lack of education out there. I am not sure how to solve this problem, except that I would like to be part of the solution…maybe one mom at a time.