Lately there’s been a lot of hue and cry over rising formula milk prices in Singapore. And now, it looks like the formula milk price war is hotting up!
Low cost infant formula in Singapore
According to The Straits Times, on Thursday, supermarket chain Sheng Siong launched a new ‘low cost’ infant formula in Singapore – a formula milk range from Australia, which is priced between $25.50 and $29.50 for a 900g tin.
The formula is manufactured by Singapore company, Nature One Dairy, and was launched by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, Koh Poh Koon, at Sheng Siong’s Tampines branch.
This infant formula is now available at 42 out of Sheng Siong’s 43 outlets, and is available in two ranges, each with three formulations for the different stages of a child’s development.
Minister Koh later wrote on Facebook, “Breast milk is best for babies, but sometimes despite their best efforts, some mothers cannot breastfeed or do not produce enough milk or simply have to stop breastfeeding for various reasons.”
“For parents who do need to purchase formula milk for their infants, the formula milk Taskforce has been working on measures to give parents more formula milk choices, and greater peace of mind to select an option that best meets their family’s needs. I’m heartened that retailers have been supportive so far.”
PHOTO: FACEBOOK / KOH POH KOON
Sheng Siong Group chief executive Lim Hock Chee has been quoted by The Straits Times as saying, “We are very happy to work with Nature One Dairy, which is a Singapore company, to offer local parents a safe and affordable high-quality alternative.”
According to Nature One Dairy co-founder, Singaporean Masie Ng-Dimopoulos, the reason for the relatively lower prices of their infant formula is because the company manufactures and imports the formula directly, cutting out the middleman.
If you remember, in June this year, FairPrice had launched the “Australia’s Own” brand of infant formula, imported from Australia, priced between $27.50 and $35 for a 900g tin.
Rising prices of infant formula milk in Singapore has long been a matter of concern. Apparently, the average price of a 900g tin of formula in Singapore has increased by as much as 120 % in the last 10 years!
In May, a 6-member task force was set up by the Government to address rising prices of infant milk formula in Singapore.
The following findings were revealed in the Competition Commission of Singapore’s report:
- According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, the average retail price of formula milk has more than doubled over the past nine years.
- Brand name, nutrition and safety are the top three considerations when consumers purchase formula milk.
- Majority of parents tend to continue with the brand of formula milk that their babies are exposed to at birth in the hospitals. They rarely switch to competing brands of formula milk, unless there is a medical need.
- Most parents believe that the more expensive or premium products are of higher quality. This may be due to insufficient understanding of the nutritional content of formula milk, and the dietary requirements of infants and young children.
The following recommendations were proposed:
- Educate consumers on the nutritional content of formula milk and the nutritional requirements of infants and young children.
- Review import rules on formula milk, while still ensuring food safety and security.
- Review formula milk sponsorships in hospitals.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has already set aside $1 million for a public education campaign that will focus on advertising, brochures for hospitals and social media efforts. The campaign will also focus on the nutritional needs of children.
Also READ: What mums are saying to rising prices of formula milk in Singapore
(Source: The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, Today)