Finance Consumer Woolworths tightens baby formula limit after chaotic supermarket scenes

Woolworths tightens baby formula limit after chaotic supermarket scenes

baby formula
The group are accused of stealing formula and health supplements for sale in China. Photo: AAP
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Woolworths has again cut its customer limits on tins of baby formula after chaotic footage emerged of frantic buying in one of its supermarkets.

The retailer recently lifted its restrictions on baby formula, returning to an earlier limit of eight tins. It was following competitor Coles, with both chains citing better supply after years of shortages.

Baby formula is popular among “daigou”, or personal shoppers, who buy up stock and resell the products to customers in China at inflated prices.

Scenes of Asian shoppers stripping shelves of formula, queuing up in the dark outside shops, filling trolleys and car boots and even pushing, shoving and running down aisles have generated outrage on social media.

Footage uploaded to Reddit in recent days shows a long line of customers waiting to buy tins and tins of formula from Woolworths at Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre. It comes only days after a Sydney father wrote an open letter begging the retailer to again tighten the baby formula limit.

Dad Ivan Chan posted the letter on Woolworths’ Facebook page, saying he was one of a group of parents who were struggling to get a regular supply of formula for their children.

“We have to keep calling stores all over Sydney to feed our children. The problem has become acutely worse since Woolworths increased the per customer limit to eight tins,” he wrote.

“We demand Woolworths bring the limit back down to two tins per customer to ensure adequate supply for Australian families.”

baby formula dad letter
Ivan Chan’s open letter to Woolworths. Photo: Facebook

Mr Chan said there had been no problems getting formula until Woolworths lifted its restrictions.

“We literally watched two women swipe everything off the shelf before we could get anything for ourselves,” he said.

In response to Mr Chan’s, Woolworths told News Corp it had “been working very closely with our suppliers and recently changed our formula tin limit as a result of improving supply in the market”.

“Please know that we’ve shared your feedback with the relevant teams,” it said. “We will continue to carefully monitor stock availability, supply arrangements and feedback from customers and will adjust the limit again if needed.”

-with agencies

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