Bellamy's discounts price of formula in China

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bellamy's has attracted criticism over infant food special pricing schemes in China.
Bellamy's has attracted criticism over infant food special pricing schemes in China.

Related tags: Infant

Baby Milk Action (BMA), the UK NGO that works to stop misleading marketing by the baby feeding industry, has criticized a special deal on infant formula being promoted by Bellamy’s Australia Limited, saying it violates the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

Bellamy's has announced that its milk formula products will be available in China on their Tmall Global flagship store at a low price for a limited time.

Bellamy’s, however, told DairyReporter that it respects the Code​.

The price of its products will be RMB143 ($21.14), or RMB108 ($15.96) with the redemption of additional flash sales vouchers and other special offers designed for new customers and for large orders.

As part of Singles' Day promotions, Bellamy's will be making some of its range of baby food and formula products for babies and toddlers available at a discount through a series of offers that will run between October 21 and November 11 on its ecommerce store on Tmall Global.

The offers include: bulk discounts for consumers purchasing more than a certain amount of Bellamy's products; flash sales vouchers released throughout the offer period; exclusive vouchers for new customers; and package deal offers for those buying multiple products.

Last year, Bellamy’s says, all its products were sold out within the first hour of Singles' Day.

Violation of code

BMA’s policy director Mike Brady, however, told DairyReporter Bellamy’s breached the code. Bellamy’s said formula for 0-6 month old babies was excluded from its Chinese campaign but admitted there had been an error over the use of the term ‘formula’.

“The English translation made reference to ‘formula’, and while compliant with the relevant laws, Bellamy’s would like to clarify it was not the business’ intention to include this reference. The inclusion of this word was an oversight as a result of the translation process,”​ the company said.

“Bellamy’s would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the oversight.”

Brady was unimpressed. “Formula is an over-priced product, in part because parents have to pay premium prices to cover the cost of promotion, and if companies fulfilled their responsibilities it could be permanently cheaper,”​ he said.

“Price cuts for a limited period of time are promotional, violate the Code and mislead parents about the actual cost of formula feeding.”

No legal measures in Australia

Australia is one of 49 countries worldwide that has ‘no legal measures’ with respect to the code.

Such countries are categorized as those that “have taken no action or have implemented the Code only through voluntary agreements or other non-legal measures (includes countries that have drafted legislation but not enacted it).”

While Australia doesn’t have any legal measures associated with the code, Brady said Article 11.3 of the Code placed an onus on manufacturers to respect the Code.

Bellamy’s said it respects the voluntary code.

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