Formula brand comparison – a quick guide to why its all a load of marketing bollocks

You know that handy little chart that you got given by your midwife when you decided to start using formula; you know the one that compares the various ingredients and costs of brands? No…..me neither.

But such a thing does exist. I’m sure I trawl the internet in search of things more than most so let me share this recent find with you. It was discovered on the HiPP Organic website and I found it quite interesting (click on the image to see the original).

HIPP_HCP Comparison_Tick_Chart.indd

Here are some things that immediately struck me:

There’s only one organic one.

All the brands have broadly identical calories per 100ml, Iron per 100ml and whey to casein ratios…….this is because, as we all know,  all formulas made and sold in the UK are BASICALLY THE SAME.

But who knew that none of them were vegetarian? This is because they all contain fish oils. Yummy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Aptamil and Cow & Gate are EXACTLY THE SAME. But as this handy chart demonstrates Aptamil is 18% more expensive. This irks me, stop ripping people off Nutricia, you arses.

What this chart doesn’t show is that all these formulas; in fact all formulas (to my knowledge) available in the UK contain palm oil. It’s sometimes called ‘structured vegetable oil’ on the ingredients list because they like to fiddle with it to improve fat and calcium absorption (or something like that). Palm oil is one of those issues that comes and goes in the news but really it is a massive deal and I am sad that I’ve had to contribute to this industry just to feed my child. Large areas of rainforest have been cleared to make way for palm oil plantations and animals, in particular Orang-utans, are losing their habitats and running out of places to live. It’s hideous.

But I guess whilst we are all locked in the battles about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding the ethics of formula will remain a sideshow.

This is an infographic (I believe that’s the technical term) produced by a company who sell infant formula, to help them sell more formula. I don’t think its a massive leap to argue that a similar thing could be produced by the NHS to hammer home to us confused and worried mum folk that it really is just all the same shit in a different tub. I think that subverting the marketing tactics of the formula manufactures long before any of us actually have to go out and purchase the bloody stuff would be both powerful and empowering. Instead the formula makers just roll on in and fill the gaping void that is antenatal information on bottle feeding in the UK with their shiny bollocks and everyone wonders why they seem to have such a grip.

Or at least that’s what I think.

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