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Nestle: Chocolate Chips or Advocate of Bottle Feeding?

Recently Nestle invited several high profile bloggers to their headquarters in Glendale, California. From their site:

Nestlé understands the importance of listening directly to parents. That’s why on September 30 and October 1, we’ve invited 20 Mom and Dad bloggers to our U.S. headquarters to learn firsthand the things that are important to them and their families, and to share a little about us and our brands. Check out what they are saying by following the conversation below from Twitter. Visit this page daily from September 23 through October 7, to learn more about them, their families, their busy lives, and to hear about their experiences at Nestlé. Check out their blogs, too

What’s interesting is that they picked a group of bloggers who would clearly support their mission, and they forgot about the others.

The others include women who believe that Nestle has a history of undermining breastfeeding in many countries. I’m not familiar with the controversy because breastfeeding was never a discussion in my home. For one child it worked for a good long time, and for another child medical reasons kept us from breastfeeding.

From PDH In Parenting:

Some illustrations of Nestle’s unethical practices include:

  • Nestle systematically violates its own policies as brought to light by a senior Nestle employee in Pakistan who resigned and then wrote a scathing, detailed and well-documented whistleblower report on all of the violations that were both allowed, encouraged and ordered by his superiors. He is pursuing legal action against the company. His family has been threatened.
  • I do look at Nestle as a whole and think “oh more junk food”, but I realize that it’s no mistake that Nestle selected who they did.

    There’s a wonderful conversation happening at PhD in Parenting. She’s asking fair questions, and Nestle has yet to answer them. I’m never been a fan of processed foods, and the only thing I’ve ever bought from Nestle has been chocolate chips for baking, but the reality is that they’re not that special.

    I, for one, am waiting patiently to hear more from Nestle about their marketing practices regarding infant formula.

    For full background read these two articles, in this order:

    An Open Letter to the Attendees of the Nestle Family Blogger Event

    Follow Up Questions For Nestle

    [This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]

    Comments

    1. There are so many things that wrong with the Nestle Family trip is hard to know where to begin. Here are some of the things I have noted.
      1. Nestle was sure to integrate the power of Twitter this weekend, although some said that at first Nestle found it to be a silly thing…which the more I think of it the more it doesn’t make sense- considering they devoted half the site page to participants tweets.

      2. The fact that Nestle themselves did not create their own Twitter page till the shit hit the fan, then stopped tweeting Friday at five leaving their supporters high and dry.
      These two points lead me to believe Nestle is not a cooperation that values family or the mom opinion.
      Although I have never talked to you Jessica I was kinda looking forward to hearing your opinion- did not disappoint…thanks

    2. At first glance you might think it’s all about the processed food and chocolate chips, but Nestlé also owns 51% of L’Oréal, which means they are also part owners of Maybelline, Lancome, Garnier, Biotherm, Giorgio Armani Parfumes and the list goes on. The also own Jenny Craig (there’s a Jenny Craig ad on the sidebar of the blog) and several pet food brands.

    3. Thanks for posting this Jessica. To clarify, Nestle did invite bloggers who are not exactly supporters. Most of them smartly declined. They realized that a company that has been spouting doublespeak for more than 30 years was not going to suddenly start listening and telling the truth. They realized that their reputations could be compromised. The decided that they were not willing to swap their morals for a trip to LA.

      To be fair to those who attended, many of them truly did believe they could get Nestle to listen (and some still think they did). Some had no clue about this at all before they accepted the invitation, and some acted with grace and dignity after hearing that news, while others didn’t.

      It is an interesting case study and learning opportunity indeed, both for corporations and for bloggers. For me, not attending an event like this and tweeting all the way through about how wondeful Nestle and its products are is part of my vow to Blog with Integrity. I guess others interpret it differently and/or have different values than I do.

    4. Blogging with integrity! I love it. The thing is, one never knows who is behind the posts, they can be anyone!

      I once was on a parent chat room where one parent disparaged a baby food company. A “poster” rushed in to defend. Then there was a post in defence of a rival company….the whole thread was hijacked by these two people….as it turned out both employees of rival baby food companies, posing as ordinary concerned mothers.

    5. @pat: I didn’t make up the Blog with Integrity thing – more info on it here:
      http://www.blogwithintegrity.com/

      With regards to biased posters posing as regular people, I have had that a few times in the comments on my blog. Some of them are stupid enough to do it from either (a) their work computer (duh…I can see/look up the IP address) or (b) to give their real name and/or work e-mail.

    6. @Jennifer James:

      There is a Jenny Craig ad where? On the side bar of this blog? There is also a Nestle one right now.

      Nestle Baby
      More nutritious options with Nestlé Iron Fortified and Easier to Digest
      Nestle-Baby.ca

      That is the problem with Google Ads (and many other ad networks). You can control what shows up and a lot of it is keyword based. The ones that piss me off the most are the ones that say “Breastfeeding Support”, but you click on it and get taken to a formula company.

      More on that here:

      http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/05/04/sabotage/

    7. I’m glad to see bloggers not invited to the Nestle party covering this. I agree that the event was clearly designed as a publicity event – not a true “town hall” type conversation. They’re preaching to the choir when they really need to first, get their business in order and clean things up, and then reach out to those who will ask the tough questions. This was completely one sided with challenging questions ignored. This wasn’t a social media event – they held a press conference without the media.

    8. I became aware of this event due to the amount of traffic coming to Baby Milk Action sites from links people were posting on Twitter.

      Nestlé has a history of all expenses paid trips for people it thinks can put its message across on controversial issues as if they are independent. In one such example Nestle continues to distribute an article that arose – but without the substantial right to reply given to Baby Milk Action by the publication due to the many factual errors in the article. The ‘independent’ author now has her training business funded by Nestlé and lobbies people to drop their support for the boycott. See:
      http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/2009/09/nestle-family-twitters.html

      When Nestlé eventually came online at this blogger event to say it would answer questions, I posted several and offered to take part in a Tweet debate with Nestlé. None were answered and Nestlé currently refuses to speak in public if Baby Milk Action is present, having lost a series of debates between 2001 – 2004.

      It is great to see how much attention has been given to Nestlé malpractice as a result of Nestlé’s latest PR effort. The forthcoming Nestlé-Free Week, 26 October – 1 November, designed to give the boycott a boost has received publicity. And I hope people are contacting Nestlé calling for it to make changes to its policies and practices.

      One particular concern we are campaigning on at present is new formula labels Nestlé has rolled out around the world that claim its formula ‘protects’. An example from Malawi, Africa, one of the world’s poorest countries with an under-5 mortality rate of 140 per 1,000 live births is given on my blog about this event along with answers to some of the other questions raised on Twitter and elsewhere:
      http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/2009/10/twitter-answers.html

    9. Swiss food multinational Nestlé has ordered the recall of baby milk products from five European countries due to ink contamination from the packaging.

      The recalls in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece follow the confiscation of 30 million litres of milk by the Italian authorities. Tetra Pak in Holland confirmed it had produced the faulty packaging.

      what do they say about this

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