There is a nationwide scarcity of baby formula, which has forced one of the country’s major retailers to start rationing this vital commodity for newborns.
The high demand for baby formula has compelled Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States behind CVS, to limit how much of the product customers can buy. Customers may only purchase three infant and toddler formula items per transaction, according to a spokesperson for the national drugstore chain. The restrictions are already in place at stores.
Many gas stations and supermarkets are now running out of baby formula. A CVC Health representative said that “product supply issues are presently affecting the majority of the retail sector.” The country’s largest pharmacy chain said that it is working with “national brand baby formula suppliers to resolve this problem, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”
As of the end of March 13, a study by Datasembly revealed that more than 11,000 retailers were out of stock on 29% of the top-selling baby formula products. There was a significant increase from November, when 11% of the best-selling baby formula goods were unavailable.
According to Datasembly, 30% of baby formula was unavailable as of mid-March in 24 U.S. states. Shortages of at least 40% were reported in Connecticut, Louisiana, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island, North and South Dakota, and Texas. According to the retail analysis firm that offers real-time product information from thousands of stores, parents in Minnesota are having difficulties finding baby formula because shops are experiencing shortages of up to 54%. There have been shortages of baby formula between 2% and 8% throughout the first seven months of 2021.
“This is a staggering number that you don’t typically see in other industries,” said Ben Reich, the CEO Datasembly. “We’ve been keeping track of it over time, and it’s increasing at an alarming rate. We believe this industry is being affected by economic difficulties more than others.”
A shortage of baby formula is worrisome since, by the age of six months, 75% of babies receive some formula.
“I would normally buy four to six cans at times to get us through the month and I’d have to go down to two,” said Memphis mother Samantha Modely. “My friend is expecting a baby in August, and I can’t imagine being concerned about whether you’d be able to go to the local grocery store and get what you need.”