Baby milk, unexpected victim of inflation

Within a few weeks, the young parents experienced the unpleasant surprise that their baby milk bill rose by an additional 10 to 40 francs per month. A number that could well increase.

Up to 5 francs more in a few days on the price of a pack of baby milk… This is a surprising increase that young parents have had to cope with in recent weeks.

In order to make the effects of inflation on the household goods basket visible, the RTS has been observing the price development of various brands and online shops since the beginning of May. Results? Even if the inflation associated with the war in Ukraine is not yet felt on most shelves, infant formula is proving to be one of its first victims. We have noticed that the prices of some baby formulas have risen by up to 41% in a few days, while in pharmacies most are seeing an increase of 7 to 15% or an average of 2 to 3 francs more per pack. .

A potentially significant increase in family budgets, as a baby uses between 4 and 6 boxes per month, sold between 20 and 40 francs per unit. Depending on the milk used, this saves the parents’ wallets an additional CHF 10 to 40 per month.

increase in raw materials

When asked about the reasons for this sudden increase, manufacturers all point to the increase in raw materials. “We are facing high inflation (between 15 and 20%) throughout our production chain, confirms Philippe Aeschlimann, spokesman for Danone, owner of the Aptamil brand, of the costs at the factory in Ireland, where most of the Aptamil products are made for Switzerland become, rise.”

Because baby milk is at the crossroads of many products that have been hit hard by the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the consequences of the pandemic. In addition to milk powder and lactose, most recipes contain vegetable oils such as sunflower, rapeseed or sometimes coconut oil. On the packaging side, an airtight box is made of plastic, cardboard and tinplate, materials that are also in turmoil. Finally, the increase in transportation costs seals this increase.

At Nestlé, producer of Béba milk, we assure you that no price increases are expected in the coming weeks: “In order to minimize the impact of the cost increases to which we are subject, we are optimizing all our processes at all our Activities. Adjusting our sales prices is our last resort after all the cost-saving measures that have been put in place,” explains Guillaume Roud, Nestlé spokesman. On the other hand, the Swiss manufacturer admits “a price increase on February 1, 2022”, which is already reflected in several stores.

traders on guard

While infant milk producers agree on rising commodity prices, they also blame some of the blame on retailers.

Because in pharmacies and some online shops, this recent price increase is felt most strongly. “Pharmacies buy in small quantities and do not have large interim storage facilities like large distributors. These factors have a significant impact on the purchase price and thus on the selling price to the customer,” explains PharmaSuisse. In the same spirit, Galaxus.ch expects “to have to pass on [sa] customers the price increases from manufacturers and intermediaries in the coming weeks”.

As far as the supermarkets are concerned, they are on the alert: “The increase in raw materials has meant that the prices for baby milk have already risen in recent weeks and will continue to rise,” estimates Tristan Cerf, spokesman for Migros. We are currently in intensive talks with certain brands to negotiate the fairest margins for our customers in the future”. A similar story at Coop, which confirms a recent increase in the price of baby milk on their shelves. “But in general the inflation level in Switzerland is much lower and is increasing less overall than in other countries,” says Kevin Blättler, spokesman for Coop.

However, price increases are not the same for all brands: the increases affect the majority of Danone’s Aptamil range, which is particularly popular in Switzerland, certain Nestlé Béba milk products and certain Hipp milk products. Bimbosan milk seems to be spared at the moment.

>> At 7:30 p.m., journalist Charlotte Onfroy-Barrier returns to the rise in the price of other foods:

Charlotte Onfroy-Barrier returns to rise in other food prices / 7:30 p.m. / 1 ​​min / 7:30 p.m. yesterday

Cecile Denayrouse

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