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25% hike in cost of infant formula shows need for urgent change

29th November 2023

  • Today the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its findings on its latest review of pricing within the groceries sector  
  • The findings show that the cost of infant formula has risen by 25% in 2 years – a sharp increase against a cost of living crisis  
  • The CMA says evidence suggests branded suppliers have increased their prices more than their input costs and maintained high profit margins 
  • Concerns were raised about the lack of non-brand alternatives for parents, and the lack of information surrounding the fact that all baby formulas – including the cheapest – provide all the nutrients a healthy baby needs 
  • The CMA plans further investigation, including exploring regulatory change, to establish how the market could work better for parents 

Reproductive healthcare charity BPAS Chief Executive Clare Murphy said: 

“No woman should be priced out of choosing how to feed her baby. We welcome the CMA’s initial findings and commitment to further investigation. The growing cost of formula is an area of huge concern and it is high time action was taken to address the needs of women and their families, many of whom are struggling to cope with the significant increases at a time when other costs have also risen.  

The overwhelming majority of babies will be fed formula milk in the first six months of life. Infant formula is a product like no other. This is the only food, besides breastfeeding, that is suitable for a baby in infancy. Families cannot shop for cheaper alternatives. For too long the needs of formula feeding families have been neglected on the basis that all efforts should be focused on the promotion of breastfeeding. But these are not mutually exclusive – most women will both breastfeed and formula feed - and they should be supported in however they choose to feed their babies, at whatever point in their feeding journey.  

We absolutely agree that families need better information that all products – regardless of price - contain all the nutrients a healthy baby needs to grow. We also know that there is often a degree of guilt attached to formula feeding because of the huge emphasis on the benefits of breastfeeding, and so women may feel pressured to buy more expensive products when there is no need. We look forward to the results of the CMA’s further investigation. Ultimately we are also calling for a bolder strategy for change and the development of a genuinely woman-centred infant feeding policy.” 



For further information, please contact Georgina O’Reilly, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications (maternity cover), on georgina.oreilly@bpas.org or 07384 891886. 


About BPAS 

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. 

BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them. 

BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse.