National Baby Formula Shortage Reaches 'Crisis' Level: Report

By Cherranda Smith

May 6, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

The national baby formula shortage worsened in April, reaching what some parents of newborns are describing as "crisis" levels.

In the month of April alone, 40% of the top-selling baby formula products were listed as out-of-stock, according to a newly released analysis by Datasembly.

The firm's analysis tracked stock at 11,000 stores across the US and found that between April 3 and April 24, the national out-of-stock percentage for baby formula rose from 31% to 40%, marking a 9% jump in just weeks.

"This is a shocking number that you don't see for other categories," Datasembly CEO Ben Reich told CBS Money Watch.

Parents have taken to social media, posting troubling photos of bare shelves and signs limiting the amount of formula in a single purchase.

The shortage is related to the supply chain snags that cropped up during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers are having difficulty securing key ingredients along with packaging shortages and a shrunken workforce –– factors that experts say are contributing to the current shortage.

For baby formulas, though, Reich said that the shortage "is being affected by economic conditions dramatically more than others."

States with out-of-stock levels between 50% and 51% include South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa. Parents in Texas (53%), Missouri (52%) and Tennessee (54%) are facing even higher out-of-stock levels, while 26 states saw out-of-stock rates between 40% and 50%.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America released a statement recently assuring parents that formula manufacturers were revving up production to meet the demand. The council encourages parents to keep at least 10 to 14 days' worth of formula stocked at home but also not to hoard limited stock.

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