Bellamy’s Organic Baby Formula has been in short supply due to Singles Day, a Chinese online shopping event to be held on November 11.
There has been panic and outrage by many Australian parents as the tins of the formula have been impossible to find. Supermarkets and Pharmacies have been unable to offer an explanation of why there has been a shortage and when they will have the formula back in stock.
On social media, a mum in Sydney claimed she had rung every Coles supermarket within 20km, with another mum from Melbourne claming she had visited 15 shops and scoured the shelves for the ‘white gold’ formula.
In recent years there has been a spiraling problem of people bulk buying organic brands of formula like Bellamy’s and Karicare and reselling them for a profit in China as a result of the 2008 scare where 6 babies were killed by melamine poisoning.
Laura McBain, Bellamy’s Chief Executive, admitted to Fairfax Media that there had been an intense demand for formula to supply the upcoming Chinese shopping event Singles Day. Last year Singles Day racked up $US9 billion in sales.
McBain told Fairfax Media from Shanghai, “As a result, supermarket shelves in Australian are being wiped out. We didn’t anticipate we’d have a situation where mums couldn’t access our products. It’s taken us by surprise.”
The company started in Tasmania, was publicly listed last year and has expanded its stock into Asia to take advantage of the Chinese market.
The generic responses by Bellamy to frustrated Australian parents have sparked rumours that Chinese investors had purchased it’s dairy farms and the recent shortage was a result of the scrapping of the one-child policy.
One Victorian mother took to Facebook, accusing the company of selling out to Asia, before selling in it’s own backyard.
Ms McBain has refuted the rumours.
“Absolutely not, no, [Chinese investors have not bought our farms and facilities]. We’re proudly Australian and that hasn’t changed. The rumours, are just that, rumours.”
“We have not been withholding supply where we can. We haven’t favoured any particular country or retailer. We have not been underhanded in any way in managing this situation of unprecedented demand,” she said.
“Our ambition and aim is to continue to deliver organic to as many mums possible, not just in Australia, but in China and across the globe.”
One mum, Isabel Wagner, was relieved to find Bellamy’s at a Woolworths which had a 2 tin limit for purchase.
“There’s a lot of confusion among parents, mothers not sure what’s going on and panic buying and everyone’s trying to grab as many tins as possible,” she said.
“You can’t just change formula brands. The baby can’t have an adverse reaction and has to like the taste. If it works for you, you tend to stick with it.”
The stock for Bellamy’s is expected to improve from late November. For desperate customers, Bellamy’s and Danone Nutricia have asked parents to go to their online stores.
Have you been affected by the Bellamy’s shortage?