Measures will be taken to reduce baby formula price, says Development Minister

baby formula, infant formula

Price checks for profiteering on baby formula continue, Development Minister Kostas Skrekas told Skai TV on Friday, following media reports by the opposition.

"The reform that allowed infant formula to be sold at supermarkets has not brought the expected results, and pricing is inexcusable," Skrekas said, referring to the expansion of sale of infant formula beyond pharmacies.

He underlined that the results of inspections would lead to administrative measures that could bring a drop in pricing, while he added that there was a meeting with supermarket representatives on Thursday.

"High prices are the greatest problem for households, and inspections will continue," Skrekas said, noting that a fine was levelled on an air conditioning company Thursday for profiteering and that companies that are fined need to adjust their prices.

He also revealed that within the first quarter of 2024, the government would take structural measures to help shelf prices go down for goods such as detergents, house cleaning products, and diapers.

Baby formula prices significantly higher in Greece, watchdog says

The prices of baby formula in Greece are significantly higher compared to other European countries, based on a price comparison survey carried out by the country’s Hellenic Competition Commission in November.

The results of the survey were published n Tuesday in the commission’s latest newsletter, which takes stock of its work for 2023. The survey focused on baby formula for children from 0 to 6 months and from 6 to 12 months in the basic series (excludes formula with extra features, such as vitamins etc.), due to the necessity of consumption at these ages, in cases where powdered milk is chosen over breast-feeding.

“Milk is the only food (and source of water) for the infant and therefore its only means of survival, from birth to the first four months of its life. It is also recommended as his basic food from five to eight months, while it must continue to be included in its daily diet until it is 12 months old,” the survey says.

The watchdog recorded the prices at which these products are sold in the online stores of the two largest supermarkets per member state of the European Union. Due to the specificity of the product, prices were also obtained from a pharmacy with an online store per country.

For each of the two categories of infant formula, three price collections were carried out in November 2023, namely on 1 November, 20 November and 30 November, in the same supermarkets and pharmacies.

In Frisolac 0-6 and Frisomel 6-12, prices in Greece are from 32% to 53% higher than the lowest price found in Latvia. In Greece, the lowest price for Frisolac 0-6 is found in a pharmacy with an online store, while approximately the same price is found in a supermarket in Lithuania.

For Almiron 0-6 (Danone-Nutricia) prices in Greece are from 144% to 171% above the lowest price found in Belgium. Almiron 6-12 (Danone-Nutricia) in Greece is sold from 78% to 136% higher than the lowest price for the product found in Belgium and the Netherlands.

In Greece, Milupa 0-6 and 6-12 milks (Danone-Nutricia) deviate between 102% and 114% from Austria which is the only country where the label is found.

Infant milk NAN 0-6 (Nestlé) in Greece deviates from 167% to 213% from the lowest price found in Finland and Sweden. Correspondingly, the price for NAN 6-12 (Nestlé) in Greece is from 146% to 197% higher than the lowest price found in France.

Finally, in Greece, Novalac 0-6 and 6-12 for which we have comparable data from the pharmacies of five countries (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy), is 140% to 173% more expensive than the lowest price which is located in Italy.

Despite the fact that legislation assures that all baby milks sold on the market, including the cheapest ones, are of equal nutritional value, and while producers of branded baby milk products have raised prices, consumers have not switched to cheaper formula milk, due to the limited availability of private labels and possibly also due to the lack of information on the nutritional value of the cheaper products.

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