Chemist Direct: illegal and misleading Aptamil infant formula promotion

People have been reporting emails received from Chemist Direct promoting Aptamil infant formula with the claim that this is "nutritionally tailored formula, just for your baby". The example below was sent by Chemist Direct on 22 July 2015.

Advertising of infant formula is illegal under provision 21 of the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (2007) (see The Law section).

It is misleading to claim that the formula is "tailored" to a baby, when it is mass produced and lacks many of the constituents of breastmilk, which truly is tailored to a mother's child, varying by feed, time and age in accordance with its needs.

Baby Milk Action has reported this promotion to Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority.

The claim of "pioneering" research may also lead people to believe Aptamil is the best formula. However, the ASA has ruled that Aptamil is not the "best formula", following a complaint brought by Baby Milk Action.

Email marketing such as this should comply with marketing regulations and the advertising code, even when people have opted in to receive information from companies. The ASA upheld a Baby Milk Action complaint against direct email from Wyeth (now part of Nestlé) for SMA infant formula in 2012:

"We told [the company] not to produce marketing communications for infant formula except in a scientific publication or, for the purposes of trade before the retail stage, a publication of which the intended readers were not the general public."