Major retailers in the US have begun rationing baby formula amid rising stock-out rates, according to media reports on Sunday.

Some pharmacies and supermarkets are limiting shoppers to three infant and toddler formula products per purchase in stores and online, says USA Today, citing the retailers.

“Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are experiencing constraints across the country,” the post quotes Walgreens Boots Alliance spokesman Steve Cohen as saying.

Between November and April, the stock-out rate for infant formula, a breast milk substitute made primarily from cow’s milk, jumped from single digits to nearly 40% across the country and even exceeded 50% in some states, according to the latest figures. of the market data analysis company Datasembly.

Finding formula has become a challenge for parents, CNN says, describing how some have to drive to neighboring states or go on social media and beg strangers to share or even trade any extra supplies they might have. One mother told USA Today that “it’s almost a full-time job trying to find Similac {an infant formula brand}”.

“Inflation, supply chain shortages and product recalls have created unprecedented volatility for baby formula,” said Datasembly CEO Ben Reich, warning that there are “no signs of a slowdown”.

According to CNN, manufacturers are producing at full capacity, but it is still not enough to meet current demand. The shortage has been exacerbated by the February recall of three brands of powdered baby formula due to concerns about bacterial infections and the closure of a major factory.

The birth rate in the US has risen steadily in recent years, while inflation has skyrocketed over the past year to its fastest pace in more than 40 years.

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