US formula shortage to improve by October, Gerber CEO projects

Tarun Malkani, the CEO of Nestle SA’s Gerber Products Company, said last week that he expects the US infant formula shortage to improve by October.

Malkani said the Nestlé company is still in “critical task force mode.”

During a Thursday media event at Nestle’s US headquarters in Virginia, he said that Gerber added market share as it produced formula to meet the surging demand.

The Gerber Products Company, which makes the Good Start line of infant formulas, now has a market share of roughly mid-9%.

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Prior to the shortage, its market share was around 8.5%.

Tarun Malkani, president and chief executive officer of Gerber Products Co., speaks virtually during a meeting with US President Joe Biden in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2022. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“We need the marketplace to rebalance,” Malkani said, noting that Gerber had “pruned” novelty infant formula to focus on those most needed.

The company also flew in supplies from Europe to the US under the White House’s Operation Formula Fly.

Nestles Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula

Pallets of Nestle’s Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula are unloaded from a FedEx Express aircraft after arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, May 25, 2022. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

In August, Walmart – the largest retailer in the country – said the availability of formula was improving.

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Target also said it has seen supplies improve, although saying it was still rationing the product online and in stores.

Gerber infant formula products

Gerber infant formula products are stored at a Walmart Supercenter in Rogers, Arkansas, US, June 4, 2022. (Reuters/Siddharth Cavale/Reuters Photos)

Millions of babies in the US rely on formula, which is the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren’t exclusively breastfed.

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COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain issues were exacerbated when Abbot Nutrition, the largest producer of baby formula in the US, recalled some formula and closed a Michigan manufacturing plant earlier in the year.

FOX Business’ Paul Best, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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