Sales of Baby Food Rise Amid Infant-Formula Shortage, Numerator Finds

baby food

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With infant formula still hard to find across the U.S., new data from Chicago-based Numerator suggests many parents are speeding up the transition to solid foods and buying more baby food. In its infant formula buyers survey, the data and tech company found that 14% of formula shoppers say they will supplement with other forms of nutrition, and 10% will begin transitioning their child out of formula completely because of the shortages. Meanwhile, monthly sales of baby food are at its highest: Sales were up 28% in March and April vs. the two months prior, and up 58% vs. a year ago.

Numerator found that nearly 9 in 10 formula shoppers (84%) in the past month are still having a hard time finding formula, with 79% concerned about formula availability in the future and 70% concerned about increasing costs. To find formula, 59% of household are visiting multiple locations of their favorite store, 58% are visiting different stores, 54% are asking others (friends, family and coworkers) to help them find formula, and 16% are enlisting their healthcare providers for help in providing formula.

Also, despite high gas prices, 33% are driving longer distances to purchase their brand of formula, and 35% are paying higher prices than they normally would. Many have gone online (45%) to find formula, with 24% visiting online forums to buy from/trade with other parents. Many are switching brands altogether, as well. Nearly half (45%) say that if they cannot find the brand of formula that they usually use, they will go with another similar brand, no matter the cost, while (22%) say they will only switch brands if the price is similar, Numerator found. 

See also, Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Help Ease Baby-Formula Shortage

The safety of formula is also of concern to some shoppers, 65% concerned about manufacturer safety following recalls earlier this year. U.S. shoppers are also weary of imported formulas: Only 17% said they are comfortable purchasing formula made in Europe, while 6% said they are comfortable with formula made in Mexico.