Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Breastfeeding vouchers for new mums

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

4,000 new mothers in the UK will be offered shopping vouchers if they breastfeed their babies, as part of a full-scale trial. In a pilot study involving over 100 Mums in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, two thirds of women who signed up to the scheme were claiming the vouchers at six to eight weeks, a breastfeeding rate higher than the national average.

Ladies taking part in the trial received up to £200 to spend at shops such as John Lewis, Matalan, Argos and big supermarkets if health professionals confirmed they were feeding their babies breast milk. Researchers hope the scheme will boost Britain’s breastfeeding rate, improving children’s health and cutting costs for the NHS. The World Health Organisation recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed until the age of six months, but only 1 per cent of British babies meet this target.

What are the pros and cons of the scheme? It’s reported that some NHS staff are uneasy about “bribing” mothers, saying they should be offered support instead of cash. Cathy Warwick of the Royal College of Midwives said “Incentivising public health behaviour through monetary reward will always be contentious. However, the RCM believes that alternative ways of increasing breastfeeding rates also need attention.”

Some mums stop breastfeeding for circumstances they feel are beyond their control (not producing enough milk to satisfy baby, or because of exhaustion breastfeeding can lead to if unsupported, for example). This in turn can lead to some new Mums feeling guilty that they are no longer breastfeeding- will this be compounded by feeling that they are now missing out on vouchers?

On the other hand, the financial incentive may increase breastfeeding rates, which must be a good thing overall- certainly the case study suggests this willl be the case.

Where will the money comes from? Would the money be better spent on breastfeeding support services? Why are the vouchers not available to spend in independent local shops? Why should only the ‘big’ businesses benefit from the increased purchasing power of these parents? For example, new Mums wouldn’t be able to use their vouchers to buy a Baby Feed Wheel to help keep track for their baby’s feed times from Chiggs or from one of our lovely independent stockists, so they would miss out on this useful piece of breastfeeding assistance!

Hallmark will stop manufacturing greeting cards in Bradford

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Bradford based business Hallmark have announced that they are outsourcing production of their greeting cards to the Far East. This is a huge blow to the city, as it will result in the loss of around 300 jobs by the end of 2014.

Hallmark UK has been based in Bradford for over 30 years, and employs about 1,000 people in the city; this news means  that it will become even harder to buy greeting cards that are made in the UK.

There are, however, still a number of UK based card publishers- often the smaller independent publishers like Chiggs- who do still make their greeting cards in the UK, providing jobs and supporting the UK economy. I think it’s worth looking for a ‘printed in the UK’ label- I’ve written before about my hope that there will be a change in consumer buying, with customers actively looking to buy goods that are Made in the UK in an article published in Nursery Industry magazine.

So the moral of this blog post?  Support British Business! Buy UK made greeting cards! I just happen to know where you can get some…. 🙂

We are very proud that Chiggs Wheels are all printed in the UK, and over the last 8 years we have been wonderfully supported by the family printing business who supply all our Wheels. A Bradford company make the envelopes and cellophane pockets we use, and even the ‘high-tac’ sticky pads used to secure the embellishments to our hand– finished ‘new baby’ and ‘get well soon cards’ are from a business in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

New baby congratulations cards

New baby congratulations cards

Baby milk powder ‘rationing’ hits UK supermarkets

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I heard a report on BBC Radio 2 lunchtime programme yesterday about the shortages of baby milk formula hitting British supermarkets.  Due to an increase in demand in China for foreign made powdered baby milk, some UK shops (Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons) have said the purchase of certain brands would be limited to two units per customer per day.

Danone, who make Aptamil and Cow & Gate baby milk powder, apparently asked for the restrictions, and said most supermarkets were introducing a restriction of two cans per customer in order to prevent some individuals from bulk-buying baby milk for “unofficial exports”. Retailers have put the same limits on sales of SMA milk, despite the makers Nestle saying there were no stock shortages.

So what is going on? Foreign-made baby formula is popular in China- worried about potentially dangerous levels of hormones and chemicals sometimes found in Chinese baby formula, go to great lengths (and are willing to pay a premium price) to buy foreign brands. Their fears are not without foundation- in 2008 a locally-manufactured formula containing the industrial chemical melamine killed six infants and caused illness in another c.300,000.

Due to the higher prices Chinese parents are willing to pay, there are big profits to be made selling foreign formula, and it seems people have been buying in bulk to (unofficially) export to China, or send over to relatives. Since the introduction of restrictions in UK supermarkets, there has also been an increase in sales as Mums have been stocking up on their favourite brand- which in turn has led to shortages on the shelves.  On a local Harrogate Mums Facebook page, ladies are reporting near empty shelves in the local Morrisons and Asda.

It seems some entrepreneurs are hoping to make a quick buck without the hassle of international shipping, and cans of baby milk are selling on eBay for twice the shop price. 

Time for a “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic Buy” government poster?!

‘Bye China, buy British.

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Chiggs Wheels Made in BritainThe Sunday Times business pages yesterday had an interesting article in their ‘small business’ section concerning companies bringing some or all of their manufacturing back to the UK. An increase in wages and raw materials in China has led to a spiralling of costs, narrowing the gap in production costs between the Far East and Britain. Companies like Trunki (who make the little ride-on children’s suitcases you may have seen on Dragons’ Den) are moving production to the UK, and discovering benefits other than financial- much shorter lead times, no language problems, easier to keep on top of quality control, and of course job creation.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog, because it’s something I am very proud of, Chiggs Wheels are all printed and handfinished in the UK. Our printers are a terrific family business based in Lancashire. The envelope each Chiggs Wheel is supplied with, and the cellophane wrappers they are sealed in, are made by a fellow Yorkshire business in Shipley (which, coincidently, is where my husband was born!). Even the sticky pads the embellishments are attached with are from a very nice company in Bradford.

If you’re a retailer who would like to join the British revolution, Chiggs Wheels are all available to trade at wholesale prices, or we can send you a trade price and terms by email if you fill in the trade enquiry form. Chiggs Wheels are also available from the Chiggs Shop.