The BMS component of the 2016 India Spotlight Index is based solely on an in-country assessment of marketing and does not include an assessment of the companies’ policies, management systems and disclosure, as was the case for the 2016 Global Index. The quality and completeness of the policies and management systems of Nestlé India, Danone, Abbott, Heinz and Mead Johnson was assessed for the 2016 Global Index and the results can be found in that report.
Greater Mumbai was chosen as the geographical location for the study on the advice of ATNF’s Expert Group. It has one the highest population densities in India and high GDP per capita, likely making it an appealing market for infant foods companies. Moreover, a similar study had previously been carried out in Delhi by PWC on behalf of FTSE4Good; ATNF, therefore, wished to conduct its study in a different location. Prior to conducting the study, the support of the Public Health Department of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai was sought and obtained.
As for the 2016 Global Index, ATNF contracted Westat, a US-based global health research organization, to undertake the study, building on its experience of the similar studies carried out for ATNF in Vietnam and Indonesia in 2015. Westat appointed The Centre For Media Studies (CMS) Research House as its local partner through a competitive process. CMS is an Indian-owned and managed not-for-profit, non-partisan agency based in New Delhi, India. It is a leading research organization in India with established facilities and 25 years of experience in training, interviewing and data management and media monitoring as well as other areas.
Prior to selecting CMS, Westat verified that CMS had no commercial links to the BMS companies being assessed and that the staff of the professional media monitoring service, TVADINDX (iBankLIVE) to which media monitoring was sub-contracted, had no personal links to representatives of BMS companies.
The same methodology was used as for the Vietnam and Indonesia studies undertaken in 2015 – the IGBM Protocol (the Protocol) – on the advice of stakeholders. The Interagency Group on Breastfeeding Monitoring (IGBM) was a UK-based coalition of international NGOs, churches, academic institutions and interested individuals which originally developed and tested the Protocol between 1998-2007. Its use is now controlled by UNICEF New York.
The Protocol requires several types of research to be undertaken to assess companies’ compliance with five Articles of The Code (Articles 4,5,6,7 and 9) and/or related local regulatory requirements. The research, following the requirements of The Protocol, includes interviews with pregnant women and mothers of infants in healthcare facilities, interviews with healthcare workers in healthcare facilities, identification of informational materials produced by BMS manufacturers available in healthcare facilities and retail stores, identification of sales promotions by BMS manufacturers in retail stores, analysis of product labels and inserts of products found in the study area, and monitoring of media advertising.
An Indian expert reviewed Westat’s analysis of the differences between The Code and the IMS Act to ensure that such differences were picked up by the research, particularly in areas where the IMS Act is stronger than The Code. The forms used for interviews and to capture information throughout the study were then adapted to account for these differences. They included, for example, the definition used in the IMS Act of the term ‘advertisement’, the Act’s strict restrictions on informational and educational materials, and its requirements with respect to product labels and inserts.
It is important to note that while the IMS Act covers both BMS (i.e. infant formulas for infants up to 24 months and complementary foods for infants up to six months) and complementary foods for infants from six to 24 months, the latter category of products were not included in the study as ATNF’s scope currently extends only to BMS.
The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.
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