Walgreens Just Sent This Major Warning to Shoppers
The company issued an alert about a shortage of one of its products.
From supply chain shortages to customers hoarding items amid the spread of COVID, it's been hard to guarantee that you'll find what you're looking for when shopping over the past couple years. The situation has certainly improved of late. While at-home COVID tests were nearly impossible to find in stores and online at the beginning of the year, demand has significantly dropped over the last few weeks, prompting some retailers like Walgreens and CVS to lift purchasing caps on these products. And many of the concerns about holiday shortages turned out to be overblown. Unfortunately, some items may still be in short supply. In fact, Walgreens is now warning shoppers about one product that is becoming increasingly harder to find in stores. Read on to find out more about the latest shortage.
Walgreens is warning shoppers about a shortage affecting baby formula.
Supply chain shortages were a major problem in 2020 and 2021, and they haven't been fully resolved. Recently, many shoppers have reported that they are struggling to find the baby formula that they need, CNN reported on Feb. 8. Walgreens confirmed to the news outlet that its stores are facing tight inventory when it comes to this item.
"We continue to see greater demand for baby formula nationwide, and as a result Walgreens has worked diligently with our suppliers to ensure we have enough supply to cover customer demand," the company said in a statement to CNN Business. But Walgreens warned that shoppers could continue to see temporary or isolated shortages of specific baby formula products.
This isn't the first time the retailer has made a warning about baby formula.
In Nov. 2021, Walgreens, which operates more than 9,000 locations across the U.S., warned that demand for infant formula was increasing nationwide at the same time that suppliers began struggling to meet orders, CNN reported. Emily Hartwig-Mekstan, a spokesperson for Walgreens, said at the time that "this may cause temporary and isolated shortages." Now, it seems that the problem is more persistent than expected.
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Other retailers say they've been struggling with this product as well.
Walgreens isn't the only store that is suffering. Loan Nguyen, a new mother of premature twins who require a specialized, hypoallergenic baby formula, told CNN that she's being doing daily checks for baby formula at nearby Walmart, Target, and CVS stores, only to find that the specific type she needs is out of stock or on back order with no timeline for when it will return. "I just can't find that formula anywhere," she said.
Supply chain issues are "currently impacting most of the retail industry," CVS told CNN. "We're continuing to work with our national brand baby formula vendors to address this issue and we regret any inconvenience that our customers may be experiencing," the company added.
An Amazon spokesperson told the news outlet that the company is working closely with vendors to get formula products back in stock as soon as possible, and Walmart said that any formula shortages at its stores were a result of capacity issues on the manufacturer's end.
Formula manufacturers are working to increase production.
The market research firm IRI has reported that stores' infant formula inventories in mid-January of this year were down 17 percent from where they were in mid-February of 2020, just before the COVID pandemic hit, per CNN. But formula manufacturers say they've recently ramped up production. The Infant Nutrition Council of America, which includes some of the biggest formula makers such as Abbott Nutrition, Reckitt Benckiser, and Gerber Products Company, told CNN that manufacturers are working to create more availability for this product.
Abbott Nutrition, maker of Similac, told the news outlet that it is currently running production facilities at full capacity 24/7 and is "manufacturing more than we ever have." A company spokesperson added, "We encourage families to purchase only what they need to ensure that all families are able to access these critical products to feed their babies," per CNN.
"We have taken steps to ramp up production and are currently shipping 30 percent more product to address issues as fast as possible," Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Enfamil, also told the news outlet in a statement, noting that "U.S. baby formula industrywide sales are up 17 percent, which is more than double what birth rates and other indicators predicted."