Stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked with baby formula
Baby formula is the latest product to be on the short end of the supply chain, and stores are reportedly having trouble keeping shelves stocked.
Walgreens, which has more than 9,000 drug store locations nationwide, said the demand for baby formula has surpassed the available supply.
“(This) may cause temporary and isolated shortages,” Emily Hartwig-Mekstan, a Walgreens spokesperson told CNN Business.
Walgreens says it is keeping customers informed about the availability of baby formula by posting updates on its website during the day, and that, despite the struggles, it has been able to meet the increased demand.
“We are restocking stores as quickly as possible and continuing to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands,” said Hartwig-Mekstan.
Not having a variety of different formulas can cause an issue for customers with babies or infants that are only able to ingest specific types.
Despite the surge in demand, sales of baby formula have actually decreased this year compared to 2020, with liquid concentrate falling more than 18%, according to IRI, a market research firm, reports CNN Business.
The Infant Nutrition Council of America, meanwhile, said its members, including Gerber Products Company and Abbott Nutrition, among others, are working to overcome the current supply chain challenges.
“This includes working with distributors, retailers and state agencies on innovative ways to ensure availability of and continued access to infant formula. Parents and caregivers should ensure they get infant formula from a safe, reliable source,” the council wrote in an email to CNN Business.
Baby formula is also a common target for thieves, according to a 2020 survey from the National Retail Federation. The theft can be for a number of reasons, including personal need or resale.
“Infant formula has become a top item for thieves because it is easy to quickly resell. Increasingly, we are seeing infant formula resold online,” Jason Brewer, spokesman for the trade group Retail Industry Leaders Association, told CNN Business. “(Theft) is certainly a factor (contributing to shortages) given the rise in theft that retailers have been experiencing.”