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UK baby formula prices at historic high – watchdog

The Competition and Markets Authority has announced a full-scale investigation into the rising costs

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced this week that it was launching an investigation into rising prices on infant formula in an effort to contain the cost-of-living crisis.

The decision to scrutinize formula makers follows an earlier report from the watchdog that found a 25% average price increase over the two previous years. The report also showed that families could make significant savings of more than £500 ($632) over the first year of a baby’s life by buying cheaper infant formulas.

The CMA said it will look into “anti-reflux” and “comfort” formulas, as well as formula for babies aged six to 12 months, and milk marketed for children over 12 months as “growing up” and “toddler” formula.

“Infant formula is a key part of the weekly shop for many parents across the UK, who rely on these products to ensure their baby gets all the essential nutrients they need,” Sarah Cardell, the chief executive of CMA, remarked.

“While it’s a positive sign that prices of some products have fallen since our update last November, the cost of infant milk remains at historically high levels. We’re concerned that parents don’t always have the right information to make informed choices and that suppliers may not have strong incentives to offer infant formula at competitive prices,” she added.

The CMA is planning to release a report based on the results of the study by September, which could give it the power to force suppliers to provide information on pricing and other issues.


READ MORE: Trans ‘milk’ as good as the real thing – NHS

Producers of baby formula in the UK have been blaming the higher prices on increased factory costs, including for ingredients and energy. Meanwhile, some supermarkets have cut the cost of the formula after French manufacturer Danone last month agreed to reduce prices on the majority of its Aptamil range for UK retailers by up to 7%. Danone, which also owns the Cow & Gate brand, accounts for 71% of the baby formula market in the UK.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

February 25, 2024 at 10:39AM
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