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‘Moral obligation to take action’: Supermarket to cut baby formula price after Sky News investigation

todayFebruary 27, 2024 3

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‘Moral obligation to take action’: Supermarket to cut baby formula price after Sky News investigation

A major retailer has moved to cut the cost of baby formula after a Sky News investigation revealed the impact of high prices on families.

Iceland has confirmed it will sell 800g of SMA’s Little Steps formula milk for £7.95 across its stores and online from Tuesday morning, which is £1.80 cheaper than its rivals.

Last year Sky News revealed the dangerous steps some parents were taking to feed their babies due to spiralling costs.

Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, said: “We have a moral obligation to take action.

“The prime minister has said he is ‘sad’ families are watering down formula to try and make it last longer, but again these are just words and Iceland is today taking further action.”

The formula milk industry is already under investigation after prices rose by an average of 25% in the past two years.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it is examining whether companies have been profiteering at the expense of parents.

Last autumn the World Health Organisation told Sky News that families were being “exploited” over the rising prices.

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Baby formula prices under scrutiny

‘Why can’t it happen everywhere?’

SMA Little Steps formula is owned by multinational manufacturer Nestle who, along with Danone, control 85% of the infant milk market.

A Nestle spokesperson said: “Final pricing is always at the sole discretion of the retailer.”

Erin Williams, from the infant feeding charity FeedUK, told Sky News: “It highlights how much flexibility there really is within the pricing of baby formula.

“If it can be sold cheaper in Iceland why can’t it happen everywhere?”

Read more:
‘Cash first’ support for families struggling with baby formula costs

Baby formula prices a ‘catastrophe’ for families, MP says

She added: “Families are really hesitant to change brands on price alone and there is still this perception that the most expensive formulas are better – that does need to change.

“All first infant formulas are nutritionally equivalent.”

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From November: ‘Are families being exploited? Yes’

‘Quite embarrassing’

Mum Payzee Malika, from west London, has raised thousands of pounds to help struggling families fund baby formula.

She told Sky News: “It is definitely going to help but it is quite embarrassing that Iceland are having to do that when the government could do more to make all retailers and manufacturers do more.

“It can be done – it is not going to make these companies crumble if they really think about children’s needs and the wellbeing of families – every conversation I have with parents who are struggling you can see how it is harming their mental health.”

The pressure to act on behalf of families has grown over the past year – the government has said it will await the findings of the CMA’s investigation, which is set to conclude in September.

Written by: Newsroom

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