May 6, 2022 - Economy

"Terrifying" baby formula shortage worsens

Percentage of baby formula out of stock
Data: Datasembly; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The nation's baby formula shortage has intensified in recent weeks as parents grapple with the fallout from supply chain issues and a devastating recall.

  • 40% of baby formula inventory was out of stock nationally the week of April 24, up from 18% when the year started and 3% a year earlier, according to data analyzed for Axios by consumer product data analytics firm Datasembly.
  • It was 29% when Axios reported on the shortages a month ago.

Why it matters: About 3 in 4 babies are fed formula by six months old as a complete or partial substitute for human milk.

  • "Infant formula manufacturers are actively working with suppliers, distributors, retailers and state agencies to ensure availability and access to infant formula products, to quickly address the needs of babies everywhere," the Infant Nutrition Council of America told Axios in a recent statement.

Between the lines: Production problems or distribution issues — depending on whom you ask — started the shortages in 2021. But a sweeping recall of Abbott Nutrition products has exacerbated the situation.

  • "It’s terrifying," parent Annie Mills told WHAM ABC-13 in Rochester, New York.
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