With pressure on hospitals, formula companies seek new marketing outlets

Facing pressure from mothers and professional groups to limit hospital-based marketing, formula companies are looking for new partners to pitch their products.  

Mothers continue to receive uninvited coupons and samples mailed to their homes — according to a recent CDC study, nearly 2/3 of first-time mothers received a free sample of infant formula in the mail .  

Industry marketers continue to reach mothers through mailing lists sold by baby product manufacturers or maternity retailers. In the hospitals, some mothers have reported that baby photo companies are providing addresses to the formula industry to pitch their products to moms.

The industry seems to be extending that strategy to small businesses: we’ve had reports that businesses catering to young families, such as baby photo studios, are handing out formula samples and coupons to clients. In one case, the owner of a photo studio confirmed that a formula representative had approached her about distributing their marketing materials. In another case, a photo company that takes newborn photos in the hospital was connecting with at least one formula manufacturer to share contact information of new parents.

Where have you seen formula handouts in your community? And what can we do to educate businesses about the financial costs and health risks of marketing branded formula to new mothers?  

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