Online criticism on blogs and forums has prompted Mead Johnson to pull a fortified chocolate drink aimed at toddlers.
The recent addition to the Enfagrow Premium range attracted a lot of negative attention on the internet as bloggers hit out against the idea of a chocolate formula product.
Distraction to brand
This pressure has led Mead Johnson to discontinue the product. Spokesperson Christopher Perille said the online debate was in danger of being “a distraction to the brand”.
Nevertheless, the company insists that there has been some “mischaracterization and misunderstanding” surrounding the story.
Mead Johnson spokesperson Christopher Perille said the chocolate product had often been misrepresented as an infant formula product when it is in fact a “growing up milk” aimed at toddlers. He said the idea is to offer a stepping stone for children as they graduate from breast milk and infant formula.
A lot of the comments online centered on the nutritional value of the chocolate product claiming that it could put young children on the road to obesity. Bloggers pointed in particular to its high sugar content.
But Mead Johnson claims the chocolate drink has a superior nutritional profile to many other alternative products on the market including apple juice, grape juice, and similarly flavored dairy drinks.
Perille said toddlers can be picky about their food and the Mead Johnson chocolate drink is way for parents to ensure that their young children get access to important nutrients. The product contained vitamins A, B1, B6, C and E and was also a source of Omega-3 DHA and prebiotics.
Although Mead Johnson has stopped the chocolate version of the Enfagrow Premium brand, the company plans to continue selling its original unflavored version and a vanilla flavor launched last year. The products are sold only in the US through traditional retail stores.