Posts Tagged ‘China’

Baby milk powder ‘rationing’ hits UK supermarkets

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

I heard a report on BBC Radio 2 lunchtime programme yesterday about the shortages of baby milk formula hitting British supermarkets.  Due to an increase in demand in China for foreign made powdered baby milk, some UK shops (Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons) have said the purchase of certain brands would be limited to two units per customer per day.

Danone, who make Aptamil and Cow & Gate baby milk powder, apparently asked for the restrictions, and said most supermarkets were introducing a restriction of two cans per customer in order to prevent some individuals from bulk-buying baby milk for “unofficial exports”. Retailers have put the same limits on sales of SMA milk, despite the makers Nestle saying there were no stock shortages.

So what is going on? Foreign-made baby formula is popular in China- worried about potentially dangerous levels of hormones and chemicals sometimes found in Chinese baby formula, go to great lengths (and are willing to pay a premium price) to buy foreign brands. Their fears are not without foundation- in 2008 a locally-manufactured formula containing the industrial chemical melamine killed six infants and caused illness in another c.300,000.

Due to the higher prices Chinese parents are willing to pay, there are big profits to be made selling foreign formula, and it seems people have been buying in bulk to (unofficially) export to China, or send over to relatives. Since the introduction of restrictions in UK supermarkets, there has also been an increase in sales as Mums have been stocking up on their favourite brand- which in turn has led to shortages on the shelves.  On a local Harrogate Mums Facebook page, ladies are reporting near empty shelves in the local Morrisons and Asda.

It seems some entrepreneurs are hoping to make a quick buck without the hassle of international shipping, and cans of baby milk are selling on eBay for twice the shop price. 

Time for a “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic Buy” government poster?!

‘Bye China, buy British.

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Chiggs Wheels Made in BritainThe Sunday Times business pages yesterday had an interesting article in their ‘small business’ section concerning companies bringing some or all of their manufacturing back to the UK. An increase in wages and raw materials in China has led to a spiralling of costs, narrowing the gap in production costs between the Far East and Britain. Companies like Trunki (who make the little ride-on children’s suitcases you may have seen on Dragons’ Den) are moving production to the UK, and discovering benefits other than financial- much shorter lead times, no language problems, easier to keep on top of quality control, and of course job creation.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog, because it’s something I am very proud of, Chiggs Wheels are all printed and handfinished in the UK. Our printers are a terrific family business based in Lancashire. The envelope each Chiggs Wheel is supplied with, and the cellophane wrappers they are sealed in, are made by a fellow Yorkshire business in Shipley (which, coincidently, is where my husband was born!). Even the sticky pads the embellishments are attached with are from a very nice company in Bradford.

If you’re a retailer who would like to join the British revolution, Chiggs Wheels are all available to trade at wholesale prices, or we can send you a trade price and terms by email if you fill in the trade enquiry form. Chiggs Wheels are also available from the Chiggs Shop.