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Results of surveys on supply and prices of powdered formula at retail level announced

     To follow up on the implementation progress and effectiveness of improvement measures for the powdered formula supply chain in Hong Kong, the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) commissioned a consultancy firm to conduct two surveys on the supply and prices of powdered formula at the retail level between late April and early May. Results of the surveys were announced today (May 15).

     For focused resource deployment and better survey efficiency, the surveys covered two brands with more serious shortages observed during the stress test conducted last year, i.e. Mead Johnson and Friso.

     The surveys concerned were conducted in April 20 to 24 and April 30 to May 4, covering three stages of the aforesaid brands.  The surveys were carried out in five districts known to have experienced more serious shortages last year, i.e. North District, Yuen Long District, Sha Tin District, Eastern District and Yau Tsim Mong District. A summary of the results is shown in the Annex.

     The survey results revealed that shortages of the relevant products of the two brands concerned were still observed at the retail level, with the situation of Friso products being more serious. An overall shortage rate of 53 per cent was observed for Friso Stage 3 products in the survey conducted between April 20 and 24. Among the five districts, Yau Tsim Mong District and Sha Tin District had the most serious shortage of Mead Johnson products in the two surveys respectively. In terms of Friso products, the shortage situation was most serious in the Eastern District and North District in the two surveys respectively.

     As regards retail prices, the surveys revealed no price fluctuation in major chain stores or pharmacies. The prices remained stable during the survey periods. While the retail prices in major chain stores were more or less the same as the suppliersˇ¦ recommended retail prices, the average retail prices in pharmacies were 2 to 14 per cent lower than those in major chain stores.

     A spokesman for FHB said, "Although the overall shortage situation has been alleviated compared with the situation in the run up to the past Lunar New Year, the shortage of certain brands is still of concern. We have already passed the survey results to the relevant suppliers and urged them to follow up on the situation to ensure a stable and sufficient supply of powdered formula for local infants and young children."

     The survey results have also been submitted to the Committee on Supply Chain of Powdered Formula to seek their further views on how to improve the supply chain. In the future, the consultancy firm will continue to conduct the relevant surveys in different districts of Hong Kong on a regular basis, and the survey results will also be announced regularly.

     FHB will continue to encourage the seven major powdered formula suppliers to actively promote pre-ordering services through various channels, including placing orders through suppliers' hotlines for home delivery or collection at chain stores, as well as the Coupon Scheme. Through separating local demand from non-local demand, these channels can act as a "dedicated supply chain" to ensure sufficient supply of powdered formula for local infants and young children. The seven major suppliers have pledged that parents placing orders through the above channels will receive powdered formula within three working days (excluding Saturdays and public holidays) after confirmation of the orders.

     "FHB will continue to closely monitor the supply of powdered formula and maintain close liaison with the trade to ensure sufficient supply of powdered formula for local infants and young children," the spokesman added.

Ends/Thursday, May 15, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:06


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