BabyNes: Like a Coffee Maker for Babies

Eager to repeat the success of its Nespresso coffee makers, Nestlé has rolled out machines that make tea, smoothies, and now baby formula.

The BabyNes works just like a single-serve coffee maker, minus the cappuccino frothing wand. Add water to the tank, pop in a capsule, push a button, and you’ve made perfectly warmed and mixed baby formula. The company’s  press release emphasizes safety, convenience and hygiene, touting a ‘microbiological’ filter built into each capsule to eliminate bacteria present in the water.

An extravagant new mouth to feed.
Naturally, such convenience doesn’t come cheap. The machine costs around $300, and the single-serve capsules cost more than $2 a pop. That’s 2 to 3 times the cost of canned, pre-mixed formula, which is itself a few times the cost of powdered formula (and, if you were curious, triple the price of an espresso pod). Figure that the capsules alone will run you an extra $650 each year.

What else is wrong with this picture?
Nestlé has engaged in a decades-long tug-of-war with public health advocates over baby formula. The two sides are always going to be at odds since breastfeeding is key to improving health, nutrition, and child mortality rates, especially in developing nations, and Nestlé is the world’s largest manufacturer of breast milk substitutes. Now, global health advocates are gearing up for a new tussle over the BabyNes.

The BabyNes machine has been cited for 130 violations of the World Health Organization standards, mostly for Nestlé’s misleading and inappropriate marketing claims touting its superior nutrition. The most serious charge is that it fails to meet basic standards for use in markets outside of the U.S. and Western Europe. The BabyNes reconstitutes powdered formula with water heated to 40 degrees celsius, a temperature that is pleasing to a nursing infant but far below the 70 degrees necessary to kill water-borne bacteria commonly found in developing nations, even after it’s passed through the capsule’s filter.

Nestlé is hoping that the pricey BabyNes will join the ranks of high status baby products like thousand dollar all-terrain strollers, digital video baby monitors, and electric baby wipe warmers. It’s a market with little price sensitivity, and presumably one with few concerns for water-borne bacteria.

Nestlé's BabyNes: This is NOT a coffee maker

Nestlé's Nespresso: THIS is a coffee maker














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2 Responses to BabyNes: Like a Coffee Maker for Babies

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  2. Ellen says:

    You almost had me there. Badly timed April Fool’s joke, right?

    Anyway, I have my own Milk mixing Machines (yes, I’ve got two, it was a special deal, two for the price of one!) right in front of me.

    Need I say more…

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