Danone SA has been doubling shipments to the United States of Neocate formula for infants allergic to cow's milk, a top executive told Reuters, hoping to help stem a nationwide shortage of formula.
Top manufacturer Abbott Laboratories in February recalled dozens of types of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas, creating one of the most urgent food shortages in recent history for U.S. families.
“We have increased our supply for Neocate everywhere...the Abbott recall affected 38 markets – it’s not only the U.S.," said Magdalena Broseta, Danone's Vice President General Counsel of Specialized Nutrition.
"Our factory in Europe is serving multiple markets...of course, the numbers and the volumes and the U.S. are bigger just because of the size of the market.”
The French company declined to say how many cans or tonnes of product it is exporting.
Danone is the world's second-biggest baby formula maker after Nestlé but a relatively small player in the United States, with less than 5% of market share.
When asked if Danone would bring its flagship Aptamil formula into the country, Broseta said the company had been discussing a number of options with U.S. authorities, adding that it was easier to increase imports of products that were already available in the country than introduce new ones.
"Their focus is to try to unblock any logistical situations that other players could be facing," she added. "It's a bit early to to say what exactly would that entail."
Broseta said Danone is producing more formula at its plant in Liverpool, Britain and not rerouting product from elsewhere.
“We will keep on serving our existing geographies at the level of their respective demand," she said.
No Change To Supply
On Tuesday, British drugstore chain Superdrug told Reuters than Danone had assured Superdrug in April that supply would not be disrupted.
Reuters last week reported exclusively that Danone had stepped up shipments of infant formula from Europe, citing U.S customs data and an analysis of ocean cargo data by shipping consultancy Ocean Audit for Reuters.