Bellamy's steps up to help alleviate US infant formula shortage

Bellamy's steps up to help alleviate US infant formula shortage

Bellamy’s Organic is the latest Australian manufacturer to offer assistance with the ongoing US shortage of infant formula, today announcing it has received regulatory approval for two of its products.

With US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Step 1 and Step 2 Organic Infant Formula products secured, Tasmania-based and Chinese-owned Bellamy’s has committed to a minimum volume of 696,000 tins (about 21 million full-size bottles) to be delivered to the world's largest economy. 

Of those tins, 300,000 are available for immediate delivery via its logistics partner Organic Logistics, a subsidiary of CROPP Cooperative, and will be used to alleviate supply problems arising from a product recall at one of the country’s largest milk formula laboratories.

The company notes it is also in discussions with other global and specialty retailers to expand the product availability to reach as many US families as possible, offering relief for parents struggling to find formula to meet their babies’ daily nutritional needs.

“Bellamy’s Organic feels great sympathy for American families impacted by the infant formula shortage,” Bellamy’s Organic global paediatric dietician and nutrition manager Shae Rickards said.

“No parent should have to face uncertainty about whether they can provide their baby with adequate nutrition.”

Bellamy’s is following the lead of fellow Australian producer of infant formula Bubs (ASX: BUB), which announced last week it would send an additional 180,000 tins of formula to the US to fill around 5.5 million standard baby bottles.

This is on top of two air shipments that have already arrived in the US as part of Bubs’ plans to get 361,299 cans of infant formula on the shelves of major retailers, including Walmart, by mid-July. Ultimately, the listed company hopes to ship 1.25 million cans (or 27.5 million bottles) of formula in total.

Although Bubs established a presence in the US to distribute and market its toddler formula in June 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was required to step in to permit the sale of its infant products to help avert the crisis.

Exercising newly granted discretionary powers under relaxed regulations, the FDA approved all six varieties of Bubs infant formulas for import in May. This has led to widespread acclaim across the US, including a shout-out from US President Joe Biden on Twitter.

Today, Bubs announced it had struck a new supplier agreement with Target for the purchase of 30,000 tins to be distributed across an initial 280 stores, with the order to be fulfilled from the Australian company’s third ‘Operation Fly Formula’ air cargo shipment.

The remainder of the goods from that flight will be used to replenish Walmart and banner stores in the Kroger group, with the total gross revenue generated from this plane alone sitting in the ballpark of $3.2 million.

“We are delighted to enter a new partnership with Target, a leading retailer in the infant formula category in the United States and sign a supply agreement for ranging Bubs Infant Formula products,” Bubs founder and CEO Kristy Carr said.

“Since receiving the Enforcement Discretion from FDA to import six Bubs Infant Formula products on 27 May 2022, or less than a month ago, our products will be ranged in all four top retailers for infant formula in the USA.

“By mid-July, we expect over 360,000 tins of Bubs Infant Formula to have been made available to major retailers. This is an extraordinary outcome, thanks to our American sales team who have built a relationship with retailers over the last 12 months.”

Founded in Launceston in 2000 by David Bellamy and Dooley Crighton-Bellamy, Bellamy's grew in stature before an ASX listing in 2014 and was sold to China Mengniu Dairy for $1.5 billion in 2019.

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