Danone urges UK retailers to limit the sale of infant formula over 'unofficial exports' to China
In a statement, Danone revealed that the majority of retailers in the UK have introduced a limit of two units per customer “due to a recent increase in demand in parts of the UK for powdered baby milk.”
DairyReporter.com understands that Britain’s four largest supermarket chains – Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s – have already implemented the measures.
“This limit is to prevent some individuals from bulk buying baby milk for commercial purposes,” said Danone, which manufactures Aptamil and Cow and Gate infant formula brands.
“We understand that the increased demand is being fuelled by unofficial exports to China to satisfy the needs of parents who want Western brands for their babies. We do not export our powdered baby milk, which is made for UK babies, and labelled accordingly.”
Danone “increasing production of milk”
In its statement, Danone also apologised to parents in the UK “for any inconvenience caused by this limit” and vowed to take action in response to the situation.
“We are increasing production of milk, which means extra supplies of all our brands are arriving every week,” said the company.
“As a global organisation, several of our brands are already officially available in China and we are increasing production and supplies to meet the increasing demand for our high quality products.”
Danone has also promised to monitor infant formula demand on a daily basis, and respond “swiftly” if or when it is necessary.
Infant formula cap “a short-term measure”
DairyReporter.com attempted to contact the UK’s four largest supermarkets to confirm their involvement.
A member of Tesco’s press office confirmed that the retailer was limiting customers to two units per purchase following a request from Danone. Asda also confirmed that “all UK retailers have been asked to implement a two per customer cap on the request of the baby milk supplier, Danone.”
In a statement sent to DairyReporter.com, Sainsbury’s confirmed that “as a short-term measure,” retailers – itself including - would implement the limit.
“In this way we aim to ensure a constant supply for our customers and we wherefore hope they won’t be inconvenienced,” said a statement from Sainsbury’s.
Limit “won’t make any difference” to consumers
The British Retailer Consortium (BRC), which represents the interests of British retailers, has moved to calm any consumer concerns about a shortage. According to the BRC, the limit recommended by Danone “won’t make any difference to a typical customer.”
“It’s being done at the request of manufacturers, as a result of some customers buying up product in unusually large quantities,” said British Retail Consortium food director, Andrew Opie.
“Retailers are taking this precautionary step to ensure stocks continue to be available to everyone wanting baby milk.”