Relief coming as baby formula runs out as factory reopens, UK product arrives

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Louisville-area businesses said they hope relief is on the way for formula shortages.

“It should start to subside,” said James Neumann, president of ValuMarket and president of the Kentucky Grocers Association.

The Abbott Nutrition factory in Michigan has reopened after a failed FDA inspection, production ceased. The facility should be running at full capacity by next week.

Neumann said the customer should see the effect fairly quickly.

“They think it’s going to come to market pretty quickly,” Neumann said.

Still, Neumann said there are bigger issues at play that could allow a shortage to happen again. He and the KGA were in Washington DC this week asking lawmakers to step up antitrust enforcement.

“When you look at the formula and the fact that there are only three manufacturers, that’s a problem, but it’s really a symptom of the global antitrust that exists,” Neumann said. “You have five powerful buyers in my category, in the grocery industry in the United States, which represent nearly 70% of all grocery retailers.”

“Well, they’re so powerful that they’re able to tell companies yes and no when price increases want to happen and they can force companies out of business or force consolidation, which gets us to where we are. where we are today,” added Neumann. . “Where we don’t have enough companies producing that because of the economies of scale needed to satisfy those electricity buyers. This does not allow for good competition.

At her Outer Loop store, Neumann said infant formula stock was low, but manageable. On its most recent order sheets, infant formula is listed as “not available from manufacturer” for at least several days.

Even as the product returns to shelves and bellies, Neumann said there remains another concern, apparently shared by Kentucky’s governor and attorney general: rising prices.

“Formula has always been one of the biggest items stolen from grocery stores by quantity,” Neumann said. “They’re literally stealing enough formula to go and repackage them in crates and then resell on black markets…trying to resell on eBay or flea markets or some kind of third market and trying to take advantage of the situation, of rarity.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office is asking the public to report price gouging here.

At stores like Neumann, he said that wouldn’t be a problem.

“No legitimate retailer in our state is ever going to raise prices on anything like this, or anything,” Neumann said.

Another solution to the crisis is the foreign formula. Although paperwork has been a hassle, Target stores are expected to sell UK-made infant formula Kendamil soon.

Target responded to WAVE News’ request for comment with the following statement:

“Target is proud to partner with the federal government to help ensure American families have access to infant formula and we will work urgently to receive and distribute Kendamil infant formula online and in our stores. We will share more information in the coming weeks once the product becomes available. As we move forward, product limits will continue to be in place in stores and online to ensure access for as many guests as possible.

WAVE – Louisville and southern Indiana NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @wave3news.(VAGUE)

Copyright 2022 WAVE. All rights reserved.

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