RMI soon to see formula shortage

A variety of baby formulas line the shelves at Pacific Basin Payless Supermarket in Majuro. But some stores are already feeling the US shortage that may soon be experienced by RMI consumers. Photo: Hilary Hosia.

EVE BURNS

The Marshall Islands is slowly feeling the ongoing shortage of baby formula in the United States. Retail stores and consumers in the US have been hit by the shortage.

The ongoing baby formula shortage, caused by a combination of recalls and supply chain issues, has intensified in recent weeks, reported the Deseret News in the US this week. The Washington Post reported that formula stockpiles were 43 percent lower than usual last week.

Will these ongoing shortages reduce baby formula supply for the Marshall Island in a few months time?

Two of the three most popular baby formula brands used here are from the US: Enfamil and Similac. They are joined by the Japanese product Morinaga.

Although Morinaga is the formula long used in the Marshall Islands, Enfamil and Similac appear to be the most popular brands used nowadays.

“We are definitely experiencing problems purchasing baby formula and have been for about two months,” said EZ Price General Manager Liz Rodick.

Payless Supermarket Manager James McGuire told the Journal that they do not have a shortage of baby formula at the moment. “I got a full pallet of one specific brand from the Philippines and the other ones are normally from the United States,” said James. He said the formulas they have would last three to four months.

“We are doing our best to substitute our usual preferred brands with whatever we can find and also purchasing from places that we do not usually purchase from,” Liz said. “The result is that customers may not be able to get their preferred brand and that they will notice an increase in prices because we are experiencing increases in cost.”
CC Kids store owner Feng Ji, who gets her formulas from the US, said she is also experiencing problems bringing in large amounts of formula.

K&K Island Pride General Manager Eli Maravilla said they are experiencing shortages. “Due to the recall (by Abbott, which makes Similac and other baby formulas), we returned items back to the supplier,” he said. The shortage started affecting K&K almost two months ago.

“We are placing orders but the US going through a major shortage. We too are affected. Especially Abbott Industries that shut down in Michigan — a major supplier of baby formula,” he added.

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