Karicare and Aptamil brand infant formula products are in short supply in Australia for the second time in just over a year, as manufacturer Nutricia Australia New Zealand (Nutricia ANZ) struggles to keep up with increasing demand.
In identical statements on the Australian Karicare and Aptamil websites, manufacturer Nutricia Australia New Zealand, a subsidiary of Danone, explained that it is currently “experiencing an increase in demand” for the products.
This, Nutricia ANZ said, has resulted in “some short term out of stocks on supermarket and pharmacy shelves.”
The country's leading retailers, Woolworths and Coles, have both confirmed that they are experiencing a shortage of some Karicare brand products.
In the statements, Nutricia ANZ added that it is working with its customers at the moment to remedy the issue.
“Our first and foremost priority is to ensure we are able to supply product of the highest quality to all Australia and New Zealand mums, dads, and carers.”
“We are working closely with our retail partners to ensure continuous product availability,” the identical statements said.
Shortages and setbacks
The shortage comes despite existing retail limits on the purchase of infant formula in Australia.
In January 2013, Woolworths and Coles moved to limit the control the sale of infant formula after it emerged Chinese students were buying the products in bulk to ship home or sell online at a premium.
Similar limits have been put in place by retailers and authorities around the world.
In April 2013, Danone urged British supermarkets to limit the sale of infant formula in an attempt to curb “unofficial exports” of Western-manufactured products to China.
This month's supply issue also represents the latest setback for Nutricia ANZ.
In August 2013, the company was forced to pull 67,000 units of Karicare brand infant formula from shelves in New Zealand over fears that the product had been manufactured using potentially contaminated Fonterra whey protein concentrate (WPC).
Later tests revealed that the Fonterra alert had been a false alarm, but the incident caused somewhat of a rift between Nutricia ANZ parent company Danone and WPC supplier Fonterra.
In January 2014, Danone terminated its existing supply contract with Fonterra and revealed plans to sue the New Zealand-based dairy exporter.
This “recent shift…led to a change in the origin” of some ingredients, Nutricia ANZ said.