Danone to cut price of baby formula products after firms accused of ‘exploiting’ UK families

Business

Danone will reduce the price it sells Aptamil baby formula to retailers by up to 7% from Monday – after manufacturers were criticised for “exploiting” British families.

It comes seven months after Sky News revealed the desperate measures families have been taking to feed their babies because of the high prices of formula milk in the shops.

The Sky News baby formula investigation heard from parents stealing baby milk, buying on the black market, watering down feeds and substituting formula for condensed milk.

Baby banks and food banks across the UK reported a surge in families in need of help – often parents who are in work but are still struggling to afford formula milk and other essentials.

The most recent research in 2023 showed baby formula prices in the UK had increased by 24% over the past two years, while the cheapest brand jumped by 45% in that time.

From Monday next week, Danone will offer to reduce the price they sell Aptamil to retailers by up to 7%.

The reduction would apply to most Aptamil products including 800g tubs of first infant formula milk.

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The company is looking to change the cost it sells to retailers and expects shops to pass on the savings.

Danone’s price cut applies only to Aptamil products and not their cheaper Cow & Gate range.

Read more:
What can you do if you’re struggling to buy baby formula?
Baby formula prices a ‘catastrophe’ for families that ‘cannot be ignored’, MP says
Government response to baby milk crisis branded ‘inexcusable’

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Baby banks start rationing as demand increases

In November the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it would continue investigating the prices families are being asked to pay, after it started a review of the high costs of baby formula.

The CMA found evidence of unjustified price increases, with costs to consumers up by 25% over two years, and cited concern that two leaders in the baby formula industry, Danone and Nestle, control 85% of the market.

The infant formula manufacturers have been accused of profiteering over the price of baby milk by parents, campaigners and infant feeding charities.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) told Sky News in 2023 it wanted government action over escalating baby formula prices that were “exploiting” British families.

WHO technical officer, Laurence Grummer-Strawn, said: “It is shocking to be seeing a high income country like the UK facing these kinds of problems where mothers can’t afford to feed their babies.”

Danone had previously told Sky News that it recognised “the challenges faced by parents due to inflation” and was working to absorb cost increases.

The company insisted that in its “experience the formula milk market is competitive”.

The Iceland supermarket chain has confirmed it has reduced the price of the Apatmil formula following Danone’s 7% price drop.

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