The largest U.S. baby formula plant reopened earlier this month, restoring hopes that the nationwide baby formula shortage could soon be alleviated. CivicScience data show that 30% of Americans report they’ve been impacted by the baby formula shortage, or know someone who has–a figure even higher than the one last reported in May.
CivicScience used further survey data to explore the lengths to which people have gone as a result of the crisis.
The data show that more than a third (37%) of consumers who were directly impacted have taken one of the following actions in response to the shortage. The most popular action (over 40% of respondents, respectively) is asking friends and family for support locating baby formula, as well as traveling many miles to different locations to look for it. More than a fourth say they have purchased formula on a peer-to-peer marketplace (26%) and nearly just as many (22%) say they’ve made their own formula at home or switched brands / types. Eleven percent say they’ve switched their child to alternative nutrition sources early as a result.
Privilege comes into play. Those who have higher household incomes are more likely to say they haven’t had to do any of these things to get nutrition for their children, perhaps as they have more resources to begin with.
Parents impacted by the shortage are split on current formula-buying restrictions most retailers have in place. Most survey respondents don’t have a strong opinion either way.
And when it comes to international brands of formula that are not regulated by the FDA, the consensus among the whole population is that they should be allowed to be bought and sold in the U.S. Comparing people impacted by the shortage or not, those who are impacted are actually slightly more likely to disagree that international formula should be sold in America, likely just because they have stronger opinions on the matter.
Store shelves in the formula aisle are still empty, and it may be many weeks until production catches up to demand. CivicScience tracks current events like these continuously to understand the impact on consumer behaviors.