Store rate

Instacart: searches for baby formula increase as store shelves remain empty

The company said searches for formulas were up 245% week-over-week through May 16.

At the same time, Instacart said its personal shoppers, who pick, pack and deliver orders, continue to face widespread shortages and the rate at which they are able to find the formula on store shelves has plummeted. 52% since early May.

Instacart said it saw an 80% increase in refunds over that time. In most cases, his personal buyers have been unable to accommodate requests for specific brands or acceptable replacements for them.

Although Instacart does not have any in-stock products, the company said that starting next week, it will implement a purchase limit on the formula to help more families access it.

Many of its retail partners have already implemented similar, if not stricter, limits in stores, the company said.

In a single Instacart transaction, a customer could buy four containers of a specific formula, and if they need, they can also buy four additional containers of a different formula product.

Instacart said its purchase limit is in addition to limits imposed by any individual retailer. If a retailer’s limit is stricter than Instacart’s, it will respect the retailer’s limit.

More infant formula is expected to hit store shelves as early as this weekend thanks to various government efforts.
On Wednesday, 60 tons of formula landed at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, the second shipment from Europe under the Biden administration’s Operation Fly Formula. .
The effort was launched to address the nationwide shortage that was exacerbated by formula maker Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan plant closing in February after multiple inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. revealed “unsanitary conditions”.

According to digital intelligence platform Similarweb, retailers started seeing an increase in demand for baby formula in the fall of 2021.

Dad says he put 1,000 miles on his car to find special formula for his premature daughter
Similarweb Shopper Intelligence, which collects and synthesizes e-commerce datasets for major retailers, has kept pace with plan purchases at Amazon (AMZN), walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) dating back to last October. The pace of purchases, he said, peaked in April 2022, with Amazon, Walmart and Target selling 110%, 134% and 37% more units respectively compared to April 2021.

Abbott said Tuesday it plans to restart work at its Sturgis, Michigan plant on June 4, with the first batches of the new formula expected to be available to consumers on or around June 20. When the plant is operational, the company will be able to increase its capacity by 40%, according to Chris Calamari, who heads Abbott’s nutrition division.

–CNN’s Jen Christensen contributed to this report.