OBJECTIVE : The objective of the study was to identify and categorise factors that influence the choice behind the purchase of an infant formula
brand by mothers and/or caregivers, and the reasons for their choice.
DESIGN : This was a descriptive cross-sectional study in the quantitative research domain.
SETTING : The setting was a pharmacy in Centurion Mall, and large food retail stores in Centurion Mall, Centurion Lifestyle Centre, Lyttleton
Centre, Attlyn (Atteridgeville) and the Quagga Centre (Pretoria West) in Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa.
SUBJECTS AND OUTCOME MEASURES : The 200 participants who were selected using purposive sampling completed a point-of-purchase
RESULTS : The majority of the participants who purchased infant formula were aged 25-34 years, married, educated, affluent and employed
full-time. Influencing factors were advice from others [76% (of which 32% was advice from a paediatrician)], a perceived claim that the infant
formula provided a specific health benefit (49.5%), brand loyalty (13.5%), having seen an infant formula being used in hospital (10.5%) and
the infant’s taste preference (9%). Half of the participants (51%) purchased infant formula manufactured by one of the largest manufacturers
of this product globally.
CONCLUSION : Paediatricians’ recommendations, as well as perceived health claims, were considered to be primary influencing factors with
regard to the purchase of infant formula by mothers. Appropriate training should target paediatricians and other healthcare professionals
to ensure that they advocate breastfeeding uncompromisingly, and advise mothers and/or caregivers on appropriate indications for infant