Supply chain issues around the world are fueling a shortage of baby formula – and the problem is only getting worse.
About 40% of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock during the week ending April 24 in the United States, CBS News reports. That’s an increase from just 11% in November and still a large bump from 31% on April 3.
“We’ve been tracking it over time and it’s going up dramatically. We see this category is being affected by economic conditions more dramatically than others,” Ben Reich, CEO of Datasembly tells CBS News.
The shortage, which is up 29 percent from March, appears to be nowhere near the end.
“Unfortunately, we don’t see this slowing down any time soon,” Reich adds.
In some states shortages were more severe, including Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota, which had shortages of 50% or more, Missouri at 52%, Texas at 53% and Tennessee at 54%. Between 40% and 50% of baby formula products were out of stock in 26 states.
“We’ve noticed it being difficult to find maybe a couple months ago — two, three months ago — and then just recently we can’t find it,” San Francisco resident Irene Anhoeck told CBS News earlier this year. “We’ve tried all the local Targets. We checked Costco, Costco online, Walgreens, Long’s. Can’t find it anywhere.”
Three-quarters of babies in the United States receive some formula products within their first six months of life, so this affects a lot of families.
Formula shortages are especially dangerous, according to Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association (NWA), an advocacy group women, infants, and children.
“Unlike other food recalls, shortages in the infant formula supply affects a major — or even exclusive — source of nutrition for babies,” Dittmeier says. “Inadequate nutrition could have long-term health implications for babies.”
What’s causing the shortage?
At issue is trouble getting key ingredients, problems with