Release of Tigers: How a giant food corporation uses marketing tactics to undermine breastfeeding

Based on a true story, the movie looks into the life of a pharmaceutical salesperson who finds that the baby formula he’s been excellent at pushing, is becoming the cause of malnourishment and even death in infants. (Image from GQ India)

The Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules report documents global Code violations of baby food companies, including Nestle, the biggest multinational corporation.

Tigers, a movie about how a brave whistleblower took on Nestle for their unethical marketing practices that were harming the health and lives of Pakistan’s infants finally hit the screens on 21st November, 12 years after production started.

About Tigers

Directed by Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic, Tigers is based on the true story of how Syed Aamir Raza, a sales representative who joined Nestlé’s Pakistan operation in 1994, later became a courageous whistleblower against his former employer. While he was still promoting infant formula products at the hospitals, a doctor told him that babies were dying from unsafe bottle-feeding, Aamir asked why and the doctor replied, “Because of people like you.” Many of the practices Aamir had been taught by the company to market products aggressively to doctors and parents were in violation of the International Code. He eventually resigned in 1997, and with the help from IBFAN, compiled the 1999 report Milking Profits: How Nestlé Puts Sales Ahead of Infant Health to expose the unethical and aggressive marketing practices that were related to the deaths and illnesses of infants, by providing evidence on how Nestle was encouraging doctors to push its infant formula products. Nestlé dismissed the report, claiming most practices were not violations and those that were had been the sole responsibility of Aamir’s.

Tigers also tells the story of how Nestle went to great lengths to suppress media exposure. Apart from being accused of blackmailing the company, Aamir was also under pressure of the doctors he had denounced and moved his family into hiding after receiving threats. He eventually sought refuge while in Canada to promote Milking Profits.

Even though Tigers received a standing ovation and applause at its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, the producers have gone through hoops to get it released, revealing the muscle and financial power of Nestle. 4 years after its premiere and 21 years after Aamir left Nestle, Tigers finally makes it to audiences in India on Zee5 and on select screens in the United Kingdom.

A billboard poster of Tigers in Mumbai, India.