As some states experience a shortage of baby formula, retailers including Deerfield-based Walgreens and Target are restricting how much customers can purchase.
In a statement to NBC News, Walgreens said customers will be limited to three baby formula products per purchase both in store and online.
“Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country,” Walgreens said in a statement. “Similar to other retailers, we put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formulas to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands.”
Target is also imposing purchase limitations on baby formulas, but only for online sales with no limits in store, according to the New York Times.
CVS is taking the same course as Walgreens, allowing customers to have only three baby formula products per purchase in-person and online.
“We’re continuing to work with our baby formula vendors to address this issue, and we regret any inconvenience this causes our customers,” a company spokesperson said.
The shortage has been prompted in part by the shutdown of a major formula production facility owned by Chicago-based Abbott Labs in Sturgis, Michigan. The shutdown, in turn, was the result of a federal investigation into reports of contaminated products there that may have contributed to the deaths of infants.
Abbott, one of the country’s largest infant formula makers, said in a blog post published April 15 that it was working to increase production at facilities outside of the Michigan one.
Analysis from Datasembly, a retail data firm, found that 31% of baby formula products were out of stock nationwide in early April, with seven states — Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington — seeing out- of-stock rates at over 40%.
Manufacturers say production is at full capacity, but they are unable to keep up with current demand.
“Inflation, supply chain shortages, and product recalls have brought an unprecedented amount of volatility for baby formula,” Datasembly founder and CEO Ben Reich said in a news release. “We expect to continue to see the baby formula category being dramatically affected by these conditions.”