A baby drinking from a bottle
Source: Unsplash

Baby Formula Shortage Persists Despite Lack of News Headlines

Anuradha Garg - Author

Jul. 22 2022, Published 1:47 p.m. ET

U.S. and global consumers have faced shortages over the last few years on a range of goods and services. Among all the shortages, the baby formula shortage has probably rattled everyday consumers the most. The shortage has been ongoing for months. Is there still a baby formula shortage?

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The baby formula shortage is still ongoing despite a lack on news headlines.

Since you might not have seen many eye-grabbing headlines regarding the baby formula shortage lately, is it still an issue. The shortages that many families faced in May and June are still ongoing. The Biden administration has been working to address the issue and is flying millions of formula canisters to the U.S. from across the world.

baby formula shortage us
Source: Pixabay
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Baby formula availability is still low.

At the beginning of July, the availability of formula in stores in the U.S. hit the lowest level this year, according to the market research firm IRI. The firm reported that 28.3 percent of powdered baby formula products were out of stock at U.S. stores for the week ending July 10 — a higher percentage than the 23.7 percent reported out of stock for the week ending May 22. While the most recent availability figure suggests a slight improvement over the previous week, the shortage is still noteworthy.

Not only the baby formula shortage is impacting consumers but they are finding a lower variety of brands and sizes, according to The Wall Street Journal. The IRI data mentioned that over the four weeks ended June 26, U.S. supermarkets were selling 11 formula products on an average compared to a weekly average of 24 from 2018 to 2021. So, store shelves might not be empty but there are many gaps.

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Lost production led to an additional baby formula shortage.

Apart from the ongoing supply-chain issues, the baby formula shortage is still being impacted by the Michigan formula plant. The plant shut down in February and reopened in early June. It was hit by severe thunderstorms on June 15 and closed down again. Before it reopened on July 1, two weeks of production were already lost.

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The U.S. is addressing concerns to correct the baby formula shortage in the long term.

Looking at the bigger picture, the problem started because the U.S. relies on baby formula, a market that's dominated by two huge firms. If something happens to a major manufacturing facility at one of these companies, the whole country suffers.

Now, authorities are working to address this issue. On July 15, 2022, the House passed a bipartisan bill that will make imported baby formula cheaper for parents. The bill will now move to consideration in the Senate. Currently, the Biden administration has been flying formula into the U.S. under Operation Fly Formula. The FDA has been working with foreign infant formula manufacturers so that they can permanently sell their products in the U.S. This should go a long way to permanently address the baby formula shortage issues.


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