Walmart and Kroger are two of the most well-known names in the retail game. Between them, they have nearly everything on your shopping list, from grocery necessities to household essentials. But whether you're a loyal Walmart shopper or a frequent fixture in the aisles of your local Kroger, you might be affected by a significant policy change at both stores. The companies are instituting a new ban to address an ongoing shortage. Read on to find out what you won't be able to do at Walmart or Kroger.
Both Walmart and Kroger have started limiting how much baby formula you can buy.
Walmart and Kroger have both placed a purchasing limit on baby formula, The Wall Street Journal reported on April 12. A spokesperson for Walmart told the news outlet that shoppers are now only allowed to buy five containers of formula each day at the retailer's stores in most states across the U.S. at the request of the U.S. Food Drug and Administration (FDA). There doesn't appear to be limits set on Walmart's online marketplace, however.
Kroger has not yet elaborated on its exact quantity limits, according to The Wall Street Journal. But when you search for baby formula on Kroger's website, all of the products currently show a purchasing limit of four units. "Due to high demand, some types of products currently have quantity restrictions," the company explains in an online warning.
There is an ongoing shortage of baby formula in the country.
Retailers have started capping baby formula purchases as the result of an ongoing and rapidly increasing shortage, CBS News reported. Datasembly, a research firm based in Virginia, recently analyzed supplies at more than 11,000 stores in the U.S. and found that 29 percent of the most popular baby formula brands were sold out at retailers across the country as of the week of March 13. This is up from 11 percent in Nov. 2021, per Datasembly.
The short supply was exacerbated by a recall from Abbott Laboratories, one of the largest manufacturers of baby formula, according to The Wall Street Journal. On Feb. 17, Abbott issued a voluntary recall for certain batches of the powdered formula versions of its Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare brands manufactured at one of its plants in Sturgis, Michigan. The initial recall followed the hospitalization of four infants and the death of one baby who had consumed its products, but the manufacturer expanded the recall in March after the death of another infant.
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These are not the only retailers limiting the purchase of baby formula right now.
Walgreens was one of the first big-name companies to confirm its cap on baby formula, USA Today reported on April 9. Shoppers at this drug store chain are only allowed to buy three infant and toddler formula products per each transaction right now "to help improve inventory," the company said.
Target and CVS also have quantity restrictions as of April 12, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to the news outlet, Target declined to comment on its exact purchasing limits, but CVS said it has recently begun limiting purchases both in stores and online to just three baby formula products per shopper.
"Following supplier challenges and increased customer demand, we've added a limit of three baby formula products per purchase in our stores 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 CVS spokesperson told Insider, adding that there was no previous limit on the product beforehand.
Manufacturers say they're working to ramp up formula quantities.
These purchasing limits might not need to be in place forever. Abbott told The Wall Street Journal on April 12 that it is currently taking steps to try to increase the availability of baby formula. According to the news outlet, the manufacturer said it is doing this by increasing Similac production at some of its other facilities, shipping formula into the U.S. from Europe by air, and adding new facilities that are able to produce formula for infants with specific needs. Abbott is also sharing supply information with other formula makers to help the industry better meet consumer demand.