Misleading Marketing For Milk Powder
Singapore boasts having one of the costliest milk powders in the world — and that’s not something we should be proud of.
In March, The Straits Times reported that the average price of a 900g tin of milk powder rose by 120% over the last decade from $25.42 to $56.06.
Why So Ex?
A reason why milk powder prices have skyrocketed is aggressive marketing tactics by companies, as they try to outsell their competitors.
Some of the marketing tactics employed include making claims of improved nutritional and health benefits for “premium” powder, and potentially misleading labelling.
One company has already been singled out for the way it labels its products.
Abbott’s Similac Gain range of milk powder is reportedly the most popular brand of milk powder in Singapore.
Well, it has a product shrewdly named Gain IQ Kid that’s sure to be very popular among parents who want their kids to grow up smart.
Gain IQ mah, so when kids drink they will gain IQ right?
Yup — if you want your kids to improve their intestinal quality.
Upon closer inspection, you would see that “IQ”, as labelled on the milk tin label, doesn’t stand for “Intelligence Quotient”, as the majority of people worldwide understand IQ to mean, but intestinal quality. Check out the fine print:
Huh, what the hell is intestinal quality?!
And isn’t it fishy how the first two letters of “intestinal quality” in much larger font than the remaining letters?
That’s not all, look at what else is on the label.
See the word “Intell-Pro” at the bottom? See the cute teddy bear carrying a schoolbag and wearing a graduation cap?
We think it gives the impression to consumers that a baby will become smarter by consuming this brand of milk powder.
Abbott unsurprisingly denies this. The Straits Times quoted an Abbott spokesman as saying:
It is stated on the front label that IQ stands for ‘Intestinal Quality’. Abbott adheres to all applicable codes, regulations and laws regarding the marketing of formula milk in the countries where we do business.
Any laws about how the font sizes can be misleading?
The Price Of Intestinal Quality
According to the Abbott website for Singapore, a 400g tin of Gain IQ Kid retails for $19.90.
A 850g tin will set you back by $39,90, while a 1.8kg tin goes for a whopping $79.50 for the privilege of having your kid’s instestinal quality boosted.
Concerned netizens are sure to ask, what is the Government doing about this?
Fret not, for the Government has decided to intervene to ensure parents are able to get their fair share of affordable milk powder for their kids — while promising they get all the necessary nutrition to grow up strong and healthy.
The Ministry Of Trade And Industry has already released a video reminding consumers that all brands of infant formula are similar in nutritional needs, no matter their price.
And according to Channel NewsAsia, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) is tightening food regulations to stop marketing tactics that fool customers into paying more for infant formula.
Illustrations that seek to entice consumers will also be disallowed.
The new rules will be finalised by the year end.
Abbott may be in the clear for now, but it can’t escape the wrath of netizens.
And foolish parents weren’t spared from criticism either.
We certainly think they’ve been milking parents for quite some time now.
Don’t Be Kiasu
We applaud the AVA for reviewing the formula milk industry and coming up with new regulations that look set to eradicate such dishonest advertising.
But parents should also play their part, and avoid being kiasu and gullible enough to believe that their baby’s intelligence can be increased just by drinking milk powder.
Such ignorance will just allow them to be easy targets for misleading marketing.
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