Singapore

Fairprice brings in more affordable infant formula

Following calls for more affordable infant formula options, supermarket chain FairPrice yesterday announced the launch of a new range imported from Australia priced at between $27.50 and $35 for a 900g tin.

The average price of a 900g tin of infant milk powder here has more than doubled over the past decade to $56.06, making it among the highest in the world, along with those in China and Hong Kong.

Public unhappiness and debate over the high prices prompted the Government to announce measures to address the issue last month, while supermarkets said they would look into sourcing more affordable options.

The Australia's Own brand, manufactured by Freedom Foods, is making its first foray outside Australia with its step 1 to 3 range, for newborns to 12 months and older.

At a media briefing at AMK Hub's FairPrice Xtra, FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng said the new range will complement the existing 150 formula milk varieties on its shelves, which range from $22 to $97 for a kg.

"Following the Government's announcement to review import requirements, FairPrice had been in discussions with the authorities on bringing in better-value formula milk from additional sources," said Mr Seah.

This reduces business and compliance costs and shortens the import process, with the new range taking only a month to land on shelves, he said.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said at the briefing that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has been working with retailers to facilitate the entry of more suppliers and brands of formula milk.

This includes working with overseas counterparts to ensure that health certificates and quality control documents are aligned with Singapore's standards rather than have retailers seek out the necessary documents before import, he said.

As a result, "the product can be sold at a very competitive market price, similar to that in Australia", said Dr Koh.

He is leading a task force to ensure that key measures, such as more formula milk options and strengthening public education, are put in place by the end of the year.

As part of the Health Promotion Board's efforts to educate parents on the nutritional needs of children, shelf stoppers (to attract attention) on formula milk nutrition and weaning foods will be rolled out to 174 major supermarkets.

The task force has also been working with hospitals to increase educational activities for young parents, said Dr Koh.

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