Hanifa, Pramita G. Dwipoerwantoro, Anis Wulandari, Muhammad Farid Dimjati Lusno, Setya Haksama, Shannon McKinn, Nina J Berry, Kirsty Foster, Titis Prawitasari
OBJECTIVES: In recognition that advertising for infant formula undermines breastfeeding promotion, the Indonesian government has enacted strict regulations prohibiting the promotion of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes (Ministry of Health Regulation Number 39, Year 2013). Retail sales of infant formula were valued at US$ 47 billion globally in 2015. Indonesia is the third biggest market target in the world and a strategic target for formula milk promotion. In order to protect Indonesian families from advertising that undermines breastfeeding promotion, Indonesian Health Regulation Number 39 must be effectively enforced. The aim of this study is to investigate adherence to this regulation restricting the promotion of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes in Indonesia. METHOD: Market surveys were conducted in two urban (Jakarta and Surabaya) and two rural sites (Maluku and Sampang). These sites were selected to coincide with research investigating drivers of infant feeding decisions amongst Indonesian mothers, funded by the Australia Indonesia Centre. The researchers photographed displays of infant formula at each retailer, within a 5 kms radius and then analyzed them to identify marketing claims (health and nutrition claims) on the infant formula packaging. RESULTS: Researchers found 32 formula milk products available for purchase across those four sites. Almost all of complied with the regulation. However, some product packaging included explicit or implicit health or nutrition claims. Infant formula products suitable for infants 0-6 months old, were placed side by side with the same brand of advanced formula milk products (6-12 months old, >12 months old) and many of these included explicit health or nutrition content claims. CONCLUSION: Active monitoring and regular review of the provisions of Ministry of Health Regulation Number 39 would strengthen consumer protection in Indonesia. Further research is required to determine how parents and other consumers respond to advertising messages about breastmilk substitutes.