Sunday, April 19, 2009


Cow and Gate's new advertising campaign for their Growing Up Milk seems to me to be rather misleading. Its main thrust is that to get enough iron a toddler would need to drink 20 litres of cows' milk as opposed to 2 beakers full of their formula.

The thing is, in your diet you don't look to milk to provide iron: you go for fortified cereals, pulses, meats and vegetables. Most children of one eat solids, and should be having smaller versions of what their parents are eating basically, thus obtaining iron in their normal diet shouldn't be too much of a problem.

It seems to me an irresponsible message, although I have little doubt it conforms to advertising standards to the letter, if not the spirit. It makes me quite angry that with the government spooling out healthy eating and living programmes such as 'change4life', that Cow & Gate is doing this soft-shoe shuffle. It may be true in its bare bones that their product contains more iron than 20 litres of milk, but this does some very convenient side-stepping. Cows' milk is not considered a primary source of iron to begin with, while the advert seems to suggest otherwise. Their website has a page showing other dietary sources, which is good, but how many people watch the tv advert and may not pick up on what is omitted (or is possibly in very small print)?


ellie said...

Have to confess when my son was a year or so old I started giving him this based on the iron selling point. At the time (admittedly nearly 10 years ago now) the thrust of the advertising was an implication that toddlers brains would not develop normally if given ordinary cows milk because it was too low in iron. Typical worrying mother that I have always been it was a guaranteed sale.

You're probably right in what you say about iron from other sources being adequate - in fact it can be possible to have too much iron (another thing to worry about, ho hum).

Mephitis said...

The formula is no doubt a good way of getting iron into little ones; I guess I'm missing the whole actually getting the child to consume enough vitamins & minerals issue. Maybe I'm being a bit overboard.

I do enjoy a bit of a rant though ;).

Anonymous said...

I've signed up to the "Change4Life" campaign. They send you stickers and wall charts and everything. It's quite good fun if you can get past being condescended to and patronised. "Here's Donna, and she's raising her children in a two bedroom flat! Poor poor Donna! But the kids like to play pillow fight games! So that's okay then!" I've bought my kiddies a frisbee and football and we're trying to get an hours exercise after school every day. Abster

Mephitis said...

I did the change4life thing too, couple of weeks ago. They loved the stickers. It's quite good really, apart from the slightly patronising bit, as you say. :)