Supermarket chain FairPrice has managed to import a new range of cheaper infant formula option from Australia just a month after public calls for cheaper milk powder options.
While the average price of a 900g tin of infant milk powder is about $56.06 now, the new range, imported from Australia is priced from $27.50 to $35.
Over the last decade, infant milk powder prices have more than doubled, and the prices here are amongst the highest globally, alongside China and Hong Kong.
Last month, the Government announced measures to address the issue of high milk powder prices amidst public unhappiness and debate, and supermarkets gave assurance that they would search for cheaper alternatives.
The new range of milk powder, branded Australia’s Own, is manufactured by Freedom Foods. It is the first time the brand has entered a foreign market and it has formulas for the step one to three range, which includes newborns to 12 months and older.
FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng noted at a media briefing that the new brand will add to the 150 existing varieties which have prices ranging from $22 per kg to $97 per kg.
He also shared that FairPrice was communicating with the authorities to bring in better-value formula milk from additional sources. By doing so, business and compliance costs are reduced and the import process is also shortened, allowing the new range of formula milk to take only a month to reach the shelves.
According to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has been working with retailers to help bring in more suppliers and brands of formula milk. This includes issues like ensuring health certificates and quality control documents of overseas counterparts match with the Singapore standards. Doing so can help the product to be sold at a competitive price similar to that of the home country.
A task force, led by Mr Koh, is ensuring that by the end of this year, key measures such as more formula milk options and the strengthening of public education will be in place.
The Health Promotion Board is also putting up shelf stoppers on formula milk nutrition and weaning foods at all 174 major supermarkets to better educate parents on the nutritional needs of children.
The task force is also working with hospitals to better educate young parents.
The introduction of the Australia’s Own brand follows the launch of the made-in-Singapore range, Einmilk, which costs under $40 for an 800g tin.
The Government has urged against using price as a gauge of quality, and provided assurance that all infant formulas sold in Singapore meet safety and nutritional standards.
Source: “More options for cheaper infant formula” (The Straits Times, 14 June 2017)