National shortage of baby milk sparks panic as supermarkets run out of Cow & Gate

·2-min read
<p>A screenshot from the Boots website on Friday</p> (Boots)

A screenshot from the Boots website on Friday


A shortage of baby milk formula has caused nationwide panic among parents as major pharmacies and supermarkets run out of stock.

Bottles of ready-made Cow & Gate and Aptamil formula milk are in short supply across the UK due to a supply issue with a foaming ingredient.

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Boots are among high street shops running low on stock with some stores selling out.

Mothers on Mumsnet told of “bare” shelves at Tesco where staff are reportedly rationing customers to two tubs of Stage 1 milk per customer at a particular store.

Empty shelves have triggered complaints among parents who cannot find their preferred milk formula products for their babies.

Concern spread after Danone, who own the UK’s biggest formula brands, confirmed they are experiencing low availability.

Singer Paloma Faith said she had tried Boots and Asda “to no avail.”

She tweeted: “The search for Aptamil ready to drink continues..... #mixfeeding”

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One woman claimed she was almost out of milk for her eight-month-old son.

She tweeted: “Hi, I can’t get the Aptamil ready made milk anywhere – 1 or 2 – and we are almost out of supply. Please help. I don’t want to change my son’s milk band now he’s been on it for eight months.”

Some say they are turning to Amazon to buy milk formula as supermarkets run out of stock.

Last year, Aptamil and Cow & Gate products became scarce due to panic buying and products sold on eBay for as much as 19 times the original price.

Current shortages only affect ready-made formula, with powdered versions still available.

Some people on Mumsnet questioned why powder was not an alternative option for parents searching for milk formula.


While others on the popular parent website explained the benefits to the ready-made bottles which are more practical on the go and better for immediate use.

Cow & Gate and Aptamil, the biggest sellers of formulas in the UK, said: “We are currently experiencing low availability on our ready to feed formula products.

“We fully appreciate that this is unsettling and frustrating for parents and we are very sorry for this.

“We are working hard to get products back onto shelves as soon as possible.”

Both brands are owned by multi-billion pound company and international food giant Danone.

The firm told the Evening Standard the shortage was caused by “an issue with an ingredient used to prevent foaming” during production.

A Danone spokesperson said: “As a result, these formulas did not consistently meet our standards, so we stopped sending out them out while we investigated and resolved the issue.

“Production has now re-started at our factory and we are sending out supplies to retailers.”

The Evening Standard have contacted Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Boots for comment.

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