Baby formula shortages got even worse last month, with 40% of leading products out of stock and some parents paying $33 per can

Baby formula shortages got even worse last month, with 40% of leading products out of stock and some parents paying $33 per can
Similac baby formula is displayed on the shelves at Shaker's IGA in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.Mark Duncan/AP Photo
  • Supply chain challenges and product recalls are leading to major shortages of infant formula.
  • Out-of-stock percentages hit 40% at US retailers in April, up from 31% at the start of the month.

Infant formula shortages at the start of April were already bad, with out-of-stock percentages topping 30% at US retailers during the week of April 3, according to grocery price tracking service Datasembly.

By the end of the month, the problem got even worse, leaping to 40% on average nationwide, and more than 50% in six states: Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas, and Tennessee. San Antonio, Texas, fared the worst of US metro areas, with 57% of formula products out of stock.

Faced with supply issues, brands including Target, Walgreens, and CVS began limiting purchase quantities online and in some stores.

Kelly Bernarducci, of Ossining, New York, told Insider that her premature baby, Logan needs around four cans of powdered formula every week.

Bernarducci said she had to throw away all of her supply back when Abbot Nutrition issued its product recall in February, and now she's facing shortages of the replacement formula Logan's doctor recommended.


"It's so expensive and can cost $33 a can," Bernarducci said.

Lia Daley, whose five-month-old son, Dominic, can only take hyper-allergenic formula, has found that new mothers like her are pulling together to survive the crisis.

"People post on moms' Facebook group looking for formula and another mom will comment; 'I'm willing to spare one can or whatever,'" Daley said.

Three in four infants receive some amount of formula by the time they turn six months old, according to US statistics, but the Food and Drug Administration strongly advises against feeding babies with homemade recipes.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America — a trade group that includes Abbot, Gerber, and others — asks customers not to stockpile formula, saying that "there is no shortage in the supply of infant formula coming from manufacturers."


If you are a parent dealing with formula availability issues, and would like to share your story, please get in touch via email.