Since the pandemic, the United States has had a significant shortage of infant formulas nationwide. As many mothers have been unable to find baby formula in grocery stores and supermarkets, a technology company has created a way for parents to check online which stores have formula in stock.
iReviews has created a Google Chrome extension which checks stock and prices from the top online stores like Amazon and big-box retailers, searching for baby formula and comparing prices for similar brands. Users can also set up availability alerts and receive notifications as soon as new stock becomes available by setting alerts. iReviews also helps users keep track of all one’s favorite items, tracking baby formula prices and the availability of multiple brands in numerous stores.
According to iReview’s website, to access the extension, one must first download the official extension from the Google Chrome store on their desktop, allowing them to view information about the extension, privacy practices, and reviews. Once the user downloads the program, they must head to Amazon.com to search for baby formula. If the user cannot find their preferred baby formula in stock, they must choose another alternative that leads them to a page where they can buy it.
In the fourth and last step of buying baby formula with the Chrome extension, users who want notifications when a stock item comes back in stock must click the small bell icon next to the price. The user must log in with their Google Chrome account and allow the extension permission to send them notifications.
As the U.S. is coming out of the pandemic, the issue of baby-formula shortages continues to be a problem that some experts say will continue to worsen. The administration has looked towards countries like Australia, Switzerland, and others to provide American families with baby formula as soon as possible. When the Biden administration announced Operation Fly Formula for several flights to transport baby formula from Switzerland to U.S. stores, hospitals, and home health care providers, many pointed out the struggle to stock baby formula on their shelves.
According to market research reports, formula availability has dropped to its lowest level this year, with around 30% of products out of stock in early July. In various drug stores, supermarkets, and retail stores, people have taken photographs of empty shelves that once housed baby formula, posting on social media to display the dire situation.
States that have been hardest hit are Alaska, Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.
According to government reports, American supermarkets in June sold an average of 11 different formula products per store weekly, compared with a weekly average of 24 from 2018 to 2021. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have stated that Americans are months away from seeing an end to these shortages.