Update on baby milk rationing

Oo the plot thickens. As well as my blood.

I have been procrastinating driving theory revision by commenting on the very active threads on the Guardian, Mumsnet and all-of-a-Twitter and there is widespread fury. Danone (the manufacturers behind Aptamil and Cow & Gate) have scored a spectacular own goal here. Because it transpires the illegal export/contaminated Chinese milk story is a smokescreen to hide the fact they started selling directly to China last month, and they are the ones who have limited supply to UK supermarkets in order to ensure they have enough product to fulfill Chinese demands. Somebody in Supply Chain obviously made a catastrophic miscalculation and they would rather inconvenience their loyal UK consumers than muck up new Chinese orders and let another brand cut in. And obviously they want to be the ones turning a profit, rather than UK entrepreneurs exporting.

I received a reply from Justin King, Sainsburys CEO saying he has assigned ‘an Executive Case Manager’ to look into this. I await with bated breath. Meanwhile Danone haven’t responded to my email apart from inane comments from their Aptaclub UK Facebook page advising multiple Mums to ‘shop around various stores’, or ‘buy two, then another two on your next shop’, or ‘take some friends with you so they can buy tins too’, thus showing a blatant misunderstanding of the reality of life with multiples, let alone those who live in rural locations who don’t have a dozen shops to nip into with a double buggy. For Heswall has now officially run out as the rationing has obviously met with panic buying. The Co-op pharmacy even rang their national warehouse for me, to be told they’re empty. Tins are going for £134 on Amazon!!!

It also shows borderline contempt from Danone about the fact that twins, although a small percentage of their users, consume the highest volume. Multiples are more likely to be bottlefed, not least because they tend to be born premature and get hooked on formula in hospital. And the formula that the NHS uses? Yep, Aptamil. Plus breastfeeding twins IS hard, and there are more mouths to fill.

I witnessed the unusual situation today of Mumsnetters actually praising Nestle, who haven’t rationed SMA. Hm.

And what are TAMBA doing in all this? The organisation I have previously praised and to whom I pay a gold subscription, in name and kind, for their campaigning advocacy for multiple parents in situations exactly like this? Nothing, as far as I am aware. I have had no response from them, to emails or Tweets.

If we do have to have rationing – and frankly, I don’t think we should and that UK retailers should stand up to Danone (having worked in marketing I NEVER witnessed a supplier bullying a retailer, it was always the other way round) – then make it two tins PER BABY. Prove that by, er, having two babies with you. Or presenting a TAMBA card. Or two red medical books. Simples.

Right, back to ‘fault detections and its impact on your vehicle’s safety’…

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One thought on “Update on baby milk rationing

  1. Some very naughty person has managed to get hold of Danone’s 2014 marketing strategy and plastered it all over Facebook. It shows them essentially pulling out of the UK, apart from follow-on milk which they are allowed to advertise (you can’t advertise formula for newborns), and concentrating on the emerging markets, where they can sell for 100% more. So, ‘fine’. They’re a company, and they’re allowed to follow the money. But then the NHS needs to switch supplier so that babies don’t become dependent on a formula which will be increasingly hard to find.

    What IS heartening is that Danone are obviously staunch advocates of free speech. Why else would the irate comments of so many be still up for all to see on their Aptaclub UK Facebook page? Or could it be that their social media is managed by the same latterday Marie Antoinette who incurred the wrath of all the multiple Mums yesterday by suggesting we simply did more shops each week, who has now pulled a sickie to recover?!

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