All the baby formula in large supermarkets, such as Coles, Woolworths, and pharmacies are difficult to purchase in recent years. It seems like one baby formula is harder to buy than a luxury bag. A large amount of baby formula has been purchased by Chinese personal shoppers, otherwise known as Daigou, routinely purchase large amounts of baby formula which is leading to a shortage nationally.
In recent years, lots of Australian mums have used social media platforms to voice their complaints about the lack of choice in baby formula in supermarkets. The stock of baby formula is always not enough or empty. Where have the products gone? Many Australian baby formulas have been purchased by Chinese agents.
Many times, you can see them in the supermarket buying more than a dozen boxes of baby formulas, which they then sell them to Chinese customers at a ridiculously high price. The problem is the baby formula is not sold to babies who need it here in Australia and this is sometimes crucial for babies who aren’t breastfed, so formula could be their only source of nutrition. ABC reports that some baby formula brands, worth between $25-$35 for a 1-kilogram tin, were being bought in bulk from Australian supermarkets and on-sold to China for a profit of $100 per tin. Some Daigou are making up to $100,000 a year in profit by on-selling these products to Chinese families at highly inflated prices. Regardless of the expensive price-tag, Chinese families will still buy the formula no matter the cost.
Why is the Australian baby formula so popular in China? Why do Chinese People pay more money to buy baby formula from Australia?
My grandmother used to tell me “People always think the moon is bigger and brighter abroad.” This means some Chinese people always think foreign products are better than domestic products. Although this old saying is usually not reasonable, it is true in this situation. The chief culprit is the Scandal of Chinese baby formula in 2008. The use of melamine in milk in 2008 killed six babies and made 300,000 ills. The scandal broke millions of Chinese people’s hearts and could not be easily forgotten. Chinese mums are worried about their baby being harmed by tainted milk powder, so they often choose to pay more money and buy important baby formula instead of domestic baby formula, which does not provide a sense of security.
However, because of the large demand in the Chinese market, Aussie mothers have a lack of products and it has caused dissatisfaction. Many Chinese people do feel sorry and embarrassed because of this incident. But, it seems they have no choice now. Australian mums are frustrated because there is not enough baby formula for their babies. And Chinese mothers are worried about the well being of their baby if they buy the baby products in China.
So how can we solve this issue?
There are some solutions provided by supermarkets. Coles says tins of baby formula will now be kept on shelves behind service desks or tagged with electronic article surveillance lids in some stores. On Coles’ official website, one person can buy a maximum of 8 tins of baby formula. Retailers like Chemist Warehouse and Woolworths have already slapped a ‘two cans per person’ limit on formula sales. This could solve the Australian mum’s concern. Also, the Australian baby product companies, such as NUTRICIA, A2, and other major formula brands, are fully aware of the situation and have expanded their productivity to meet the market demand. But, when will Chinese baby formula companies regain people’s trust? (Lucky my family were so poor, and we could not afford baby formulas. So, I am still alive now).
I hope that all the little babies can have nutritious and healthy baby formulas to drink.