The market for baby products is big business and often exploitative of well-intentioned parents. Most pharmacies and supermarkets include at least one aisle filled with all sorts of products that are marketed as must-buys for babies because they are specifically designed for baby care. But it turns out that these products are not always different from regular versions, yet are nevertheless subjected to a price increase, simply for being marketed as for babies.
One Mom from New Zealand has just called out Johnson & Johnson and The Warehouse Group, a large retailing group in New Zealand, for doing exactly that. Ash Skevington noticed a price increase of $2 (NZD) between Aveeno Baby Dermexa Moisturizing Cream and the regular Aveeno Active Naturals Dermexa Moisturizing Cream. At first, she assumed this was because the baby version has special ingredients for delicate baby skin. Nope! On comparing the two, she saw that the ingredients were exactly the same. The only difference other than the price was the word “baby” on the packaging.
Skevington contacted Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest conglomerates and owners of Aveeno, the skin care company, to query the issue. The conglomerate replied, admitting that the ingredients were the same, but the products were deliberately marketed differently due to adults shopping in the adult aisles, and parents shopping for babies in the baby aisles.
In addressing the price difference issue, Johnson & Johnson eschewed responsibility, saying that prices are set by the retailer. But when Skevington approached The Warehouse Group, they said that they follow the manufacturer’s recommended prices. The question of who is responsible for the price difference was therefore left unanswered.
Eventually, The Warehouse Group announced to Stuff, a New Zealand based website, that it was changing the price, upon realizing the problem.
The whole saga highlights the exploitative nature of baby products in general, and how Moms are often targeted as easy prey to the money-making drive of big corporations. The good news is that millennial parents are starting a trend in opting for natural baby products rather than big brands.
Babies are much simpler beings than marketing campaigns would have us believe. There are much easier, cheaper, and more natural solutions to treating babies’ ailments, such as coconut oil, or almond oil for diaper rash. So next time you walk down that baby aisle, consider how that interesting looking product is being marketed, and whether it really is needed.
Of course, consult your doctor before trying any natural remedies to determine the best course of action for your family.