Who Makes Baby Formula and Where Is It Manufactured? Shortage Continues

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author
By

May 10 2022, Published 8:32 a.m. ET

While there has been an intermittent shortage of several food products since the COVID-19 pandemic started, some of the best-selling brands of baby formula have experienced a severe shortage. Many parents wonder who makes baby formula and where it's manufactured in the U.S.

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The baby formula shortage has only intensified in 2022 after product recalls. This has put pressure on the infant formula supply chain in the U.S. While some parents have been shifting to alternate brands that are available, others have been looking to make baby formula at home.

Experts advise against DIY baby formula.

Google searches for DIY baby formula have spiked. However, experts warn against making baby formula at home. You could end up doing more harm than good to the child’s health. Diluting baby formula isn't a good idea either since it impacts nutrition and could lead to an electrolyte imbalance in the baby.

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The U.S. doesn't import a lot of baby formula.

The FDA has strict norms for baby formula imports. While prior approval isn't necessary, the product needs to be manufactured at an FDA-approved facility and the agency has to be told before the import. The FDA has strict norms for baby formula content and labeling. There have been instances where the imported formula had to be recalled due to labeling even though the content was fine.

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Where is baby formula manufactured?

Baby formula is manufactured across the U.S. by different companies. Most of the baby formula that's consumed in the country is made domestically and only a small amount is imported.

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Who makes baby formula?

Four major companies in the U.S. make baby formula — Abbott, Nestle, Mead Johnson, and Perrigo. Abbott sells Similac baby formula and some of the Similac products, especially the Similac Pro Comfort Total, have been in short supply.

Mead Johnson brands their baby formula as Enfamil, while Nestle sells the Gerber range of infant formula. Perrigo makes generic baby formulas. There are over 50 baby formula brands in the U.S.

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Apart from the major brands, retail companies also sell private-label baby formula. For example, Costco sells Kirkland baby formula. While the company doesn't specify who makes the formula, you can assume that Perrigo makes it since the company has listed the brand on its website.

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Amazon also has its own baby formula brand.

Amazon sells the Mama Bear range of infant formula. The company doesn't specify the supplier but says that it's “a leading infant formula company.” Some of the variants of Mama Bear are out of stock on the platform, just like many other baby formula brands.

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The U.S. baby formula shortage has been getting worse in 2022.

The baby formula shortage in the U.S. has been getting worse. According to Datasembly, 40 percent of infant formula was out of stock on April 24. The percentage rose over the last week and is significantly higher than what we saw in 2021.

The baby formula shortage is severe in some states.

In Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee, and Iowa, the out-of-stock rate for baby formula is more than 50 percent. The baby formula shortage in the U.S. is now approaching crisis levels. However, there are ways that parents can manage the baby formula shortage.

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