Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The next step in Nestle's plan for entering UK hospitals

As I wrote here last month, Nestlé has a strategy to enter the UK formula market, where it currently only sells specialised formulas. For some time it has been working with a midwife called Chris Sidgwick to attack the boycott, which is the best-supported consumer action in the UK, and to encourage midwives to accept Nestlé-sponsored materials on infant feeding and bring them into UK hospitals.

In 2006 Chris went on an all-expenses-paid trip to Nestlé (HQ) in Vevey, Switzerland, organised by Nestlé Nutritionist, Zelda Wilson. This led to an article in the British Journal of Midwifery portrayed as an objective view of the boycott and Nestlé baby food marketing practices. The article contained multiple errors, including misrepresenting information from its primary source document. So widespread were the errors that Baby Milk Action was granted a substantial right to reply. Unfortunately, Nestlé now distributes the article without this. You can read our full analysis of the article, with links to many original supporting documents from the history of the campaign, at:

The article suggests: "Nestlé have financial and education resources available which would improve services to women and, as a result of fact finding, we see no reason not to tap into those resources at a time when most Trusts and educational establishments have very limited funds available."

Chris Sidgwick and Zelda Wilson came to our attention again earlier this year as they were part of a team of 5 that briefed stuudents at Sheffield University, calling for the student union to drop the boycott. Also in the team were people from Webber Shandwick, Nestlé's crisis management PR company.

Then we found Chris involved with Dr. Miriam Stoppard inviting health journalists to Vevey in February, no doubt hoping to generate more misleading articles about Nestlé practices. See:

Now comes the next part of the strategy. Chris is billing herself as a 'Midwifery Advisor' and inviting people to a 'study day with a difference'. This is with a familiar name: "Zelda Wilson a State Registered Dietician specialising in human interaction and behaviour."

In the small print it states that the organiser: "HCP is sponsored by an exclusive grant from Nestlé Science and Education Services."

It promises: "INSIGHT and an opportunity to NETWORK".

I wonder if the networking will include more free trips from Nestlé for midwives in the hope that they too will start working for Nestlé's cause in opposing the boycott and getting its materials onto maternity wards.

As Zelda Wilson has admitted in her capacity as Nestlé Nutritionist, its Nestlé-branded materials for hospitals are intended: "to keep the company name and products in people's mind." See:

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