In-store marketing materials promoting SMA infant formula in breach of law

The Guidance Notes for the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (2007) state:

‘Shelf-talkers’ … and other in-store promotional devices for follow-on formula must not be used in the vicinity of infant formula 
 
In December 2012 it was reported that in-store promotion was being used inappropriately in Morrisons in Reddish, Stockport. This prominent display draws attention to Pfizer/Wyeth SMA formula and is placed alongside the range of formulas on the shelves, including infant formula, follow-on formulas and milks for older babies. 
 
The tin featured on the marketing materials is the third in the range, which is for use for babies over one year of age. However, as the tin is not labelled in accordance with UK regulations, this is not as clear as it should be. The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (2007) (see the 'Law' section) state:
 
19. Infant formula and follow-on formula shall be labelled in such a way that it enables consumers to make a clear distinction between such products so as to avoid any risk of confusion between infant formula and follow on formula.
 
The Guidance Notes that show how to interpret the Regulations state:
 
51. the specific terms ‘infant formula’ and ‘follow-on formula’ should be clearly featured on the packaging, in a font size no smaller than the brand name.
 
The photos show the actual display of the infant formulas immediately adjacent to follow-on milks and milks for older babies. The green label on the marketing banner is virtually identical to the yellow label of the infant formula, which is actually closer to the banner than the green tin.
 
 
Thus this report highlights both the breach of the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (2007) concerning the actual presentation and arrangement of the products (paragraph 20) and also their promotion (paragraph 23).
 
Presentation (infant formula and follow-on formula)
 
20.  (3) For the purposes of this regulation “presentation” includes the shape, appearance or packaging of the products concerned, the packaging materials used, the way in which they are arranged and the setting in which they are displayed.   
 
The most pertinent parts of paragraph 23, Restrictions on promotion of infant formula, includes:
 
(1) No person shall at any place where any infant formula is sold by retail—
(a) advertise any infant formula;
(b) make any special display of an infant formula designed to promote sales;
(d) promote the sale of an infant formula by means of premiums, special sales, loss-leaders or tie-in sales; or
(e) undertake any other promotional activity to induce the sale of an infant formula.
 
Promotional materials to draw people to the shelves with infant formula are, therefore, prohibited. The rationale is that mothers who want formula will be able to locate it in the store, just as they can locate other products, but the products should not be promoted to the general public. 
 
The Guidance Notes issued to assist with the interpretation of the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (2007) state:
 
53. … In relation to in-store presentation, companies must ensure that they are clearly differentiated in order to avoid any risk of confusion and that:
 
• ‘shelf-talkers’ (attachments that add a company’s logo or sales message to the edge of a shelf) and other in-store promotional devices for follow-on formula must not be used in the vicinity of infant formula.
 
• Follow-on formula should be located at a different part of the store to infant formula. If this is not possible they should be clearly separated in physical location.
 
To reiterate, shelf-talkers for follow-on milks must NOT be near infant formula; and follow-on formula and other milks should be sold in different areas of the store to infant formula.  
 
The promotional and display ‘tactics’ used by both the infant formula and follow-on formula manufacturers and the store are therefore breach of the Regulations. This report has been listed under the Pfizer/Wyeth section as the promotional materials look like they may be marketing materials produced by the manufacturer, though they may have been produced by the store.
 
Baby Milk Action is reporting these violations of the Regulations to the companies and to Trading Standards.