Update on baby formula shortage; it’s far worse than people realized

The baby formula shortage is becoming worse and amplifying concern for parents across the country who are already struggling to find what they need on the store shelves to be able to feed their children.

United States-based retailers have seen 40% of the top formulas out of stock as of the week ending on April 24, CBS reported.

This represents a 9-point increase in the out-of-stock rate from April 3 when the out-of-stock rate was 31 percent, according to Datasembly which compiles data from about 11,000 stores.

In November 2021, the empty shelf rate was just 11 percent.

“Inflation, supply chain shortages, and product recalls have brought an unprecedented amount of volatility for baby formula,” said Datasembly founder and CEO, Ben Reich. “We expect to continue to see the baby formula category being dramatically affected by these conditions. Baby formula stock, which has been one of the more affected categories so far in 2022, and one that will continue to demonstrate higher than average out-of-stock levels.”

Already exasperated parents are faced with store policies implemented to ration the number of containers each person purchases so as many people can get their hands on the breast milk substitute as possible.

Several areas had shortages of more than 40 percent for the week ending April 3 including Seattle, San Antonio, Baltimore, Charlotte, Greenville, Hartford-New Haven, Oahu and Des Moines.

Some areas were even more panic-stricken as shortages greater than 50 percent were experienced in Des Moines (50%), Minneapolis (55%), and San Antonio (56%).

Store prices only went up 7 percent from January to March but some parents in the hardest-hit areas have been forced to look to online sources for their preferred formula where many have reported that price hikes for the vital product are occurring.

Prices in online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay are reportedly upwards of three times the retail cost.

“People like this make me absolutely sick!” Lorie Elaine wrote on Facebook with screenshots of the retail versus the resale price of formula.

“60.80 for one can of formula for a baby that’s three Xs what the formula costs ! I even asked is that for one can and she said yes WTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE PRICE GOUGING BABY FORMULA!! There is a very real formula shortage, people worry about how they are going to feed their baby’s and people do this ? This is disgusting on so many levels!,” she wrote.

Kassidi Hillard, mother to a 2-month-old, scoured her area in the Midwest for Similac Pro-Advance.

“I’ve looked at every store in Indiana and here (in Kentucky) and haven’t found her formula at not one store,” Hillard told WDRB.

“It’s kind of stressful, cause if you can’t find formula, it’s like they can’t eat nothing else,” she added. “They can’t have baby food, they can’t have hard food, they can’t have what we eat so it’s really, it’s not an easy thing to go through.”

There were plenty of skeptics online, pointing out that maybe parents could come up with an alternative.

But others blamed the current administration in the White House for the supply chain issues.

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