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Sooooooo....I spoke to a lovely lady on the Heinz Tinytums consumer helpline this morning............

(102 Posts)
lackaDAISYcal Tue 08-Jul-08 12:31:50

.......and voiced my concerns to her about the price increase, recipe change and all the other issues that have come to light over the new, rebranded and remixed Farley's milk.

I first got the spiel about "we think this is now the most superior product on the market" and "closest to breastmilk".

I questioned the price increase.....apparently the new ingredient can only be sourced from one manufacturer and is expensive, but it is worth it for "the best formula milk on the market"

I questioned how they could say they are committed to fair prices now then.....they are hoping that as this magic ingredient will come down in price and they will reduce the price accordingly.

I questioned exactly what the new ingredient apparently helps with constipation.

I questioned what if my baby isn't constipated and that I had read that it had caused some babies to have explosive watery diahorrea (which you would expect if you were taking a laxative when not constipated)......apparently it is so wonderful that it can tell the difference between a constipated and a not constipated baby and it's effects are gentle on a baby's tummy

I questioned the size increase of the box giving the subliminal message that there would be more product...apparently this is so they can provide a little space for the scoop as they used to get complaints about losing the scoop in the powder. (DH is a pckaging development mananger and he said that over use of packaging is illegal and they can be reported to trading standards)

I questioned especially her claim that it is the most superior and closest to breastmilk formula out there.....and suggested that if they want something closest to breastmilk they should use otter's milk, not cow's milk, as tests have shown otter's milk to be almost identical to human breastmilk (This was passed on to me by the ABM BFC who did my peer supporter training, something about the type of mammal we are and how we nurture our young.)

I also told her that the feeling towards heinz over this issue was pretty hostile and that I had seen calls for a boycott of Heinz products and that Heinz should be aware just how aggrieved people are over this issue and the lack of information on the website about why Farley's suddenly just became difficult to get and then disappeared. I told her that I used Farley's as I had seen Heinz as one of the most ethical manufacturer's out there who had an honest pricing structure and didn't go for the mass advertising that other's did, but that I had seriously considered my postion and would not use any Heinz baby products again and that I had contacted Consumer Direct over some of these issues, including the 50% price increase.

Did I go too far?

<disclaimer...of course I have paraphrased some of the above..these are not direct quotes>

hunkermunker Tue 08-Jul-08 12:35:19

What did she say when you questioned it being the most superior and closest to breastmilk?

(Which it may or may not be where infant formula's concerned - no independent way of verifying their claim, or that of any of the other milks on the market)

Well done for ringing!

MamaG Tue 08-Jul-08 12:36:44

Yes well done for ringing

What was her reaction?

lackaDAISYcal Tue 08-Jul-08 13:10:30

oops, sorry, had a visitor.

She was very good actually, but didn't vary from the "party line" that it is now the most superior milk on the market. she said that she realised it couldn't ever be the same as breastmilk, but if all the formulae out there it is "closest". I'm sure she and her colleagues will be having a good old chortle about the otter comment though grin

I think the inference was that as it's the best surely it's worth paying more.

I think she was more concerned by the fact that I had called contacted consumer direct about the price hike than anything.

She has taken my details and said someone would be in touch. When they do, I think I'll ask to see evidence of all the claims that they are making.

Everyone I've spoken to, in RL and on here are very pissed off with Heinz about this and I don't know anyone who is prepared to buy the new formula and all have said that they will (and in most cases already have) switch to Hipp. The cynic in me tells me that they have only raised their prices to be the same as the big guns because perhaps a cheaper price might give the subliminal message that it is an inferior product (in the way that a lot of people buy Aptamil precisely because it is the most expensive)

I suppose from Heinz pov though, any mass boycott of their product from people using Farley's at the moment will be relatively short lived as the babies only need it for a certain time...there will always be new consumers stepping up to take their place.

I'm so angry about this and have even downloaded a membership form for Babymilk Action and have deemed to do my best to avoid having to use formula for DC3 due in November......grrrrr angry

Naetha Tue 08-Jul-08 16:24:00

How did you contact Consumer Direct, if it was by email you couldn't post a template here could you, so I can add my voice to yours?

I am also absolutely disgusted at the way they have handled this - not just the price increase but the change in formula. Not least because my DS struggles with many formulae (sounds a bit posh like that wink) and it's only really Farley's that he will happily stomach.

I think a Heinz boycott should be reasonably effective - like you say babies grow out of infant formula, but they grow into heinz baby foods, and subsequent children may be on formula, but it's also about consumer trust - which they have blatantly abused.

smallwhitecat Tue 08-Jul-08 16:29:39

Message withdrawn

moondog Tue 08-Jul-08 16:32:41

'Tinytums consumer line'
For fuck's sake.

Jbck Tue 08-Jul-08 16:37:49

That's funny I emailed them about another product & got what appears to be a personalised reply asking me to phone their helpline with a reference number specific to my query so they'd have all the info available when I called. Haven't got round to it yet but it's a freephone so I will do it.

I'll mention the Otters whilst I'm on smile

BouncingTurtle Tue 08-Jul-08 16:55:01

My ds is fully bfed, but my friend's 10mo is on Farley's and she too is disgusted with the increase. I will show solidarity and boycott ALL Heinz products from now on.

ChickenBurger Tue 08-Jul-08 16:57:48

Confused. If you are a peer supporter what are you doing using formula?

sabire Tue 08-Jul-08 17:19:17

I have just done two things:

spoken to the Heinz careline and emailed Johann Hari at the Independent and asked him to draw this price hike to the attention of the media. -drug-ndash-its-called-breast-milk-849940.html

I asked the lady from the Heinz careline about research backing the claims for the efficacy and safety of the new ingredient in Nurture.

She gave me this:

Funnily enough it's the study Tiktok referred to on the other thread yesterday.

You'll note the numbers in the trial: 35

And the numbers who completed the trial? 24.

The rest dropped out for reasons unspecified.

So there you go - that's the research behind the claim that this new formula is 'much closer to breastmilk', and is safe. shock

tiktok Tue 08-Jul-08 17:32:47

The numbers who completed the trial include the ones in the control group, sabire...the ones who did not have the new formula.

The actual number of babies who used the new formula is smaller - without going to the paper I can't remember the exact number.

They used this new ingredient for a matter of weeks only.

hunkermunker Tue 08-Jul-08 17:34:22

Another trial here, I think

Few more babies, but nothing like the numbers they'll be experimenting on in the weeks and months to come, at greater financial cost to parents - and who knows what cost to babies?

lackaDAISYcal Tue 08-Jul-08 19:34:12

oops, been awol this afternoon.....(a solemn promise to my DS that I wouldn't MN between school kicking out and bedtime blush)

consumer direct contact form here

lol direct as ever wink

I can't believe the study has been on such a small group. It's one thing microsoft unleashing their glitch ridden software on the world as mass consumer testers but makes me very very sad sad

I've been talking to some RL friends about this and the overwhelming feeling is that heinz have been a bunch of tossers about the whole thing and no-one wants to buy the new formula.

Will contact Johann Hari at the independant, thanks for that link sabire smile

I wonder if hflotsofnumbers and co will still be thinking the formula companies are all round good guys after this?

kiskidee Tue 08-Jul-08 20:10:24

do you think we ought to link this thread to the other one so hflotsofnumbers doesn't miss it? grin

lackaDAISYcal Tue 08-Jul-08 20:24:33

oh no...can't bear the thought of another argument...not good for the baby wink

I got an email back from Consumer direct. Unfortunately as long as the new price is clearly displayed next to the new product then there isn;t anything that can be done hmm

Fair enough but what state would be in if everyone hiked their prices by 50% overnight.

A friend who uses Farley's says there was a sticker on the lid of a tin she bought advising of the coming rebrand....I never saw anything and their website certainly didn't mention it when I looked about a month ago.

Am compiling a huge email to them now!

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 09-Jul-08 11:33:59

a couple of sad things in that one that hunker linked to

"Comparison of formula-fed groups with breast-fed reference group
As expected, mothers of breast-fed infants were older and of significantly higher social class than were the mothers of formula-fed infants "

That makes me very sad

"seven infants (20 infants in the high–sn-2 and 17 in the control formula group) who completed 12 wk of the trial formula had started solids (at a median of 10 wk): "

They started solids at 10 wks! shock

hunkermunker Wed 09-Jul-08 13:50:58

NSF, it's really pretty common for babies to start solids that early.

MN is a place late-weaners (and extended bfers) seem to congregate, so that skews things a bit.

It's one of the reasons that when people post things about weaning and allergies, saying that if we're weaning later and later these days, why are so many children allergic to stuff, I often reply that we're not weaning later in general.

tiktok Wed 09-Jul-08 14:07:21

Also, the paper was published in 1999. The babies in the trial will have been born 2 , 3 or even more years earlier because it takes forever to i) crunch the numbers ii) get the paper accepted

Nice to know the research they use is so up to date, eh? Except it isn't.

And that they have followed the babies up into childhood....except, of course they didn't.

tiktok Wed 09-Jul-08 14:08:58

hunker, it isn't common to start solids as early as that these days - Infant Feeding survey (last one is based on interviews done in 2005) shows this, and that yes, babies are being given solids later than they used to (comparing it to previous IFSs).

hunkermunker Wed 09-Jul-08 14:10:18

Not as early as 10 weeks, no - I really shouldn't post whilst distracted, should I?! - but still weaning far earlier than the 6m guideline.

tiktok Wed 09-Jul-08 14:14:48

We'll not see the results of the 6 mth guideline until Infant Feeding Survey 2010. Guideline was officially announced in the UK May 2003 - too soon to have had a marked effect on behaviour in the 2005 survey, and yet (IIRC) babies were given solids later in 2005 compared to 2000.

MamaChris Wed 09-Jul-08 14:15:33

I'm on maternity leave, so need to get my head back into thinking mode, but a quick read of both studies above makes me think the NJ study in particular is very weak from a statistical point of view and wouldn't, I think, be sufficient evidence to change composition of formula. I'll try and get my brain back in gear and read these properly for a critical review. certainly crazy for Heinz to be quoting the NJ one (which only studied constipated babies) as evidence for changing a formula for all babies!

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 09-Jul-08 14:18:29

could we not get some science journo interested in this?

I missed that bit about how old that study was tiktok. When my first was born the guidelines were 13 weeks, and there were quite a few people around who started early

makes me wince when I think back

Poledra Wed 09-Jul-08 14:23:39

In a bit of a hurry (and also on maternity leave, so a little slower on the uptake!) - MamaChris, was there a power calculation in either of the studies linked?

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