Formula shortage: what it means for baby food brands2 min read
Data on Amazon sales from e-commerce analytics firm Profitero show sales of baby and toddler food rose by 18% in the U.S. between April 24 and May 23 versus the same period in 2021. The uptick contrasts with a 4% decrease during the same period from 2020 to 2021, which “support(s) the idea that the category may be seeing a boost due to the infant formula shortage,” wrote Profitero Chief Marketing Officer Mike Black in an email to Ad Age.
Amazon sales for infant formula have also risen by 37% in the same timeframe, suggesting that parents are turning to the e-commerce platform to find formula during the shortage, according to Profitero.
The baby food market is more fragmented than the formula industry, which has a few dominant main players including Abbott Laboratories, Nestlé, Mead Johnson and Perrigo Company PLC, according to a 2022 industry report from market research firm IBISWorld. By comparison, the baby food sector—whose main players include brands owned by Walmart, Danone and Nestlé—has seen a rise in regional startups and at-home production emphasizing organic products and brain health, according to research firm Allied Market Research.
Approaches by baby food brands to the shortage have included educational posts, sharing opinions from specialists and creating parent communities, as well as relying on previously established partnerships with formula brands to get the attention of parents ready to transition their children.
Nestlé-owned Gerber, a manufacturer of both baby food and formula, declined a request for an interview. The brand posted an informational slide on its Instagram in May that stated that “solid foods should not be used to stretch your baby’s formula supply.”