U.S. stock levels for baby formula remain at the lowest level despite the efforts made by the Biden administration, to bring shipments from other countries into the United States.
At the beginning of July, powdered milk products for infants were at their lowest level ever. However, they started to improve the week after that.
Citing data from market-research firm IRI, the Wall Street Journal reported that the out-of-stock rate reached as high as 30 percent in the week ending July 3. The following week that rate improved only slightly to 28.3 percent.
This stock level is worse than when the shortage crisis made headlines in May, when the out-of-stock rate was 23.7 percent in the week ending May 22–a decrease from the 40 percent it reached by the end of April, according to Datasembly.
” This issue was compounded supply chain problems, product recalls and historical inflation,” stated Ben Reich, CEO at Datasembly. The firm collects real time data from thousands of North American retailers.
Before the shortage, the out-of stock rate for baby formula was around 5 percent.
According to reports, there is less baby formula in American stores and customers have fewer brand choices.
Since last year, U.S. shops have sold an average of a lower number formula products per shop, each week. In the four weeks to June 26, stores sold an average of 11 different products–down from a weekly average of 24 between 2018 and 2021, WSJ reported.
According to Keith Milligan (controller of Piggly Wiggly shops in Georgia and Alabama), stock availability has “not improved at all,” WSJ reported.
His stores are only carrying five out of the usual 30 formula products they sell.
White House Flying Less In
On Monday, the White House announced that it was sourcing the equivalent of more than 800,000 standard 8-ounce bottles of Nestle Health Science amino acid-based formula from Switzerland to New York on July 21 and 22.
The additional Operation Fly Formula flight flights will distribute standard and special formula to infants with special requirements and be available for distribution at hospitals and homes.
According to the White House, these flights will carry Nestle NAN (r) SupremePro 1 and Nestle NAN (r) SupremePro 2. Nestle NAN[r] EXPERTpro SensiPro premium Instant Starter Formulas, Nestle NAN[r] Infant and Nestle NAN[r] Junior.
President Joe Biden created Operation Fly Formula to relieve the strains caused by the crisis in baby formula. It was started in February when America’s largest manufacturer of formula shut down. This followed reports that babies had contracted bacterial infections from formulas made at this facility.
Abbott Laboratories temporarily reopened the Michigan facility in April but was forced to close it after two weeks because of heavy rains and thunderstorms.
Caden Pearson, a journalist based in Australia. His background includes documentary and screenwriting. Contact him on [email protected]