PDF of 10 facts leaflet

Nestlé is the target of a boycott because it contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world by aggressively marketing baby foods in breach of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the 19  World Health Assembly  Resolutions that have been adopted by the  World Health Assembly since 1981.  (together called The International Code)

IBFAN groups around the world have been protecting children for 40 years – helping governments  bring in legislation that stops the predatory marketing that all companies do.  136 countries (70%) have brought in some sort of legislation based on the Code – but because of pressure from companies many have loopholes that allow harmful marketing to continue.  Nestlé, the oldest and largest manufacturer and distributor of baby foods pretends to be the most Code complaint,  yet in all the independent monitoring reports it is found to violate the Code the most – closely followed by Danone.

For more on Conflicts of Interest see  our Policy Blog for information about how  Nestlé uses its power and wealth to  influence policies in their favour.

Links to Nestlé policies: https://www.nestle.com/sites/default/files/asset-library/documents/creating%20shared%20value/nutrition/nestle_policy_who_code_en.pdf

See pages 6-9 to see the ICDC analysis of Nestlé’s policies and how they differ from the WHA recommendations.

Nestlé and Ukraine:  Beware of its deceptive policies

(for more about Ukraine see  HERE and HERE and HERE more on emergencies.

Nestlé claims its marketing policies, including its policy on donations for emergencies are in line with World Health Assembly recommendations.  However, when examined closely important differences can be seen.  The Donations policy looks proscriptive, but actually allows company donations and applies only to infant formulas and formulas for Special Medical Purposes (FSMPs), stating that : “the company may respond to written requests for free or low-price supplies of INFANT FORMULAS and/or infant Formula for Special Medical Purposes, to serve social purposes or for usage in emergency/humanitarian situation.” 
WHA 63.23 (a Resolution that endorsed the inter-agency Operational Guidelines for Emergency Relief Staff)  and the  Joint Statement on Ukraine forbid donations of a wide range of baby feeding products.    

In response to widespread criticism,  Nestle has decided to stop selling its junk foods in Russia but is keeping infant food and medical and hospital nutrition on sale saying:  “While we do not expect to make a profit in the country or pay any related taxes for the foreseeable future in Russia, any profit will be donated to humanitarian relief organisations..”   Those wishing to support the Boycott are strongly advised to refuse any donations from this company.

(We never include breastmilk substitutes on boycott lists – aware that  in some instances they can be the only food available and essential for child survival)

Nestle and Child SlaveryIn The Supreme Court of the United States, NESTLÉ U.S.A., INC. , Petitioner, v. JOHN DOE I et al.,
PROPOSED CLASS M EMBERS , Dated: December 12, 2019
On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Sunday, 8pm 25th April 2021. 20 yrs ago, the Mark Thomas Comedy Product show highlighted Nestle’s harmful baby food marketing on C4.  The show looked back at over his exposés of corporate and other wrongdoing.  Patti Rundall  @pattirundall provided an update on the situation to date.

For latest news  see Patti’s Policy Blog and the Global Monitoring pages

See Virtual shop for Tigers feature film based on a former Nestlé baby milk salesman taking on the industry with the help of IBFAN

See our Virtual Shop for Campaign materials, Nestlé-Free Zone stickers – click hereMugs: Give Nescafé the Boot mugs are bac

Nestlé Boycott page on Facebookclick here to become a fan and invite your friends.

As well as boycott materials, our online Virtual Shop has resources for health workers and mother-support groups to provide independent and accurate information. Check out the IBFAN Breastfeeding Calendar and the Infant Formula Explained DVD.



Click here for some specific campaign activities.

On this page:


Boycott overview

Nestlé, the maker of Nescafé, is the target of a boycott because it aggressively markets baby foods around the world in breach of international marketing standards, contributing to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants. Baby Milk Action and its partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) monitor what companies are actually doing on the ground.

Nestlé promotes its baby milk around the world with misleading idealised and unsubstantiated claims such as ‘nutritional foundation for life’ ‘helps develop motor skills’ start’, ‘gentle start’ and ‘protects’ babies. In truth, babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. Nestlé has promised to drop the ‘natural start’ claim by mid-2015 following pressure from the campaign, but not the others.

The World Health Organisation says: “Globally, breastfeeding has the potential to prevent about 800,000 deaths among children under five each year if all children 0–23 months were optimally breastfed.”  That is 11.6% of all deaths amongst children under five years old could be prevented by breastfeeding.

Expensive baby foods can also increase family poverty. Poverty is a major cause of malnutrition.

Nestlé targets pregnant women, mothers of babies and young children and health workers to promote its products and boost its sales.

Nestlé also puts babies who need to be fed on formula at risk. It refuses to warn on labels that powdered formula is not sterile and may contain harmful bacteria and does not give correct instructions on how to reduce the risks – unless forced to by law (as in the UK, where it markets the SMA brand).

The boycott holds Nestlé to account and forces it to make changes, while also keeping the issue in the public eye (see Nestlé boycott successes). However, Nestlé continues systematic violations in those countries which have not yet brought in independently monitored and enforced legislation implementing the marketing requirements, which is another part of our strategy for protecting infant health and mothers’ rights.

The boycott will continue until Nestlé accepts and complies with Baby Milk Action’s four-point plan for saving infant lives and ultimately ending the boycott.

Four point plan

1. Nestlé must state in writing that it accepts that the International Code and the subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions are minimum requirements for every country.

2. Nestlé must state in writing that it will make the required changes to bring its baby food marketing policy and practice into line with the International Code and Resolutions (i.e. end its strategy of denial and deception)

3. Baby Milk Action will take the statements to the International Nestlé Boycott Committee and suggest that representatives meet with Nestlé to discuss its timetable for making the required changes.

4. If IBFAN monitoring finds no Nestlé violations for 18 months, the boycott will be called off.

As the largest company, Nestlé sets trends others follow. It also takes the lead in undermining regulations implementing the marketing standards. It is now rivalled by Danone, the second biggest company, as a source of violations. Danone is targeted with the DanoNO campaign.

See our briefing on Nestlé for examples of Nestlé marketing practices, with images, links and references.

Register with Baby Milk Action to receive email alerts.

Evidence of Nestlé malpractice

If you doubt that Nestlé is doing anything wrong, see the monitoring evidence in our Campaign for Ethical Marketing section.

Save the Children reportReports from Save the Children (February 2013) and UNICEF Lao (released April 2013) also highlight violations by companies, with Nestlé being prominently criticised.

We have responded to some of the misinformation given out by Nestlé Public Relations Machine in the report Nestlé’s Creative Storytelling Initiative.

Supporting the boycott

You can register your support for the boycott via our contact page.

You can encourage organisations to endorse the Nestlé boycott. See our sample resolution.

You can find a list of Nestlé’s principal products in the UK by clicking here.

It is important to tell Nestlé you are supporting the boycott – even if only for Nestlé-Free Week.

Materials for promoting the boycott

You can download a Nestlé-Free Zone poster and other posters from our archive site to promote the boycott in your locality.

If you would like to hold a meeting, why not order one of the films in our on-line Virtual Shop?

Boycott bagsDownload our leaflet on why to boycott Fairtrade KitKat.

Very useful items for your campaigning are the product list cards, giving Nestlé’s principal brands.

You could ask people to send letters to Nestlé as part of our Campaign for Ethical Marketing.

If you would like to give a talk yourself you might like to download a powerpoint presentation and a short presentation to adapt for your own use (the text has been checked to be legally accurate – please take care if adding information of your own).

If you like role playing, you could try doing something like the Nestlé challenge stunt Baby Milk Action did at Nestlé (UK) HQ at a past demonstration. Click here for details.

Keep us informed of your activities. It can help to generate international media coverage.







Nestlé-free zone banners and logos

If you have a website, why not place this banner advertisement there?

Nestlé-Free Zone

For the image to automatically update on your site, don’t copy it, but link to it using :


For simplicity, you can copy the code below into the html source code of your web page or add it to your blog when in ‘edit html’ mode. With a myspace blog, you can add the code directly. With some blogs, you will have to add the link as a separate line. Simply add the URL:

Why the Nestlé boycott continues

<a href=”http://www.babymilkaction.org/nestlefree” target=”_blank”>
<img src=”http://www.babymilkaction.org/flash/nestlefreebanner.gif” alt=”Nestle-Free Zone” width=”468″ height=”60″></a></p>

Alternatively use the following image to link to this page.The image address is:



Nestle free zone


If you use a service such as blogger, you can go to the ‘settings’ control panel and add an html page element. Cut and paste the text below into the field for the html and the image will appear with a link to this page! Click here for an example.

<p align=”center”>
<a href=”http://www.babymilkaction.org/nestlefree” target=”_blank”>
<img src=”http://www.babymilkaction.org/flash/nestlefreezone.gif” alt=”Nestle-free zone” width=”136″ height=”157″ border=”0″></a></p>

Alternatively use the following image to link to this page. The image address is:



Nestle free zone

Email Nestlé and your friends

If you are supporting the boycott, please send an email to Nestlé.

To tell people about the boycott by email, you could cut and paste the following text and adapt it to send to your friends, family and colleagues.

As you probably know, I support the boycott of Nestlé products.

According the the World Health Organisation (WHO) improving breastfeeding practices could prevent 800,000 child deaths every year. Despite this Nestlé continues to push its baby milks in breach of international standards.

Nestlé is the largest of the baby milk companies. Monitoring by groups on the ground around the world shows Nestlé systematically violates the marketing requirements and drives down standards for the industry as a whole. That’s why it is singled out for boycott action.

If you don’t boycott Nestlé already, I ask that you consider looking at the evidence and giving up Nestlé products, or at least its principal brand, Nescafé coffee.

The boycott has forced some changes from the company, but it is still a long way from complying. Campaigners are also working for laws. Nestlé can comply when it is given no choice. It is not being asked to do something that is impossible, but without pressure it continues to put its own profits before infant health and mothers’ rights.

You can find out more information and look at the evidence yourself on the Baby Milk Action website at:


You can sign up there to support the boycott.

It is important to tell Nestlé you will be boycotting it until it accepts and acts on the plan put to it by boycott groups for saving infant lives.

You can telephone Nestlé on the (UK) freephone number 0800 00 00 30 or send a message via its website http://www.nestle.com/

For further information on what has been achieved thanks to pressure from the boycott and why it continues to be important, click here.

Contact us

If you have suggestions or designs you would like us to add to this page, please email mikebrady<AT>babymilkaction.org

If you would like leaflets and petition sheets in quantity, contact us.

The boycott is just one part of Baby Milk Action’s strategy to hold the baby food industry to account. Find out more by reading our year report. You can help this work further by becoming a member of Baby Milk Action. If you are outside the UK, contact our partners in the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN).