Mum baby

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The listing is the latest in a high profile campaign by Iceland, that started in August

Iceland now sells what it claims is the cheapest SMA branded baby formula available at the mults, as executive chairman Richard Walker continues his campaign to ease restrictions on the sale of baby formula products.

On Tuesday, Iceland began stocking 800g packs of SMA Little Steps First Infant and SMA Follow On Milk for £7.95 in Food Warehouse stores and online at Iceland, with plans to roll the products out across Iceland stores at a later date.

Walker – who has heavily promoted the “market-leading” price in broadcast and press interviews – said the listing would heap “further pressure” on manufacturers, regulators and grocery market “to bring prices down”.

Using Assosia data, The Grocer has confirmed that the SMA lines at Iceland are at least £1.80 cheaper than the same two SMA products on sale at the traditional big four, which, along with Boots, all currently sell the products for £9.75.

The listing is the second major reduction in baby formula products made by the supermarket this year. Walker has called for an easing of restrictions on retailers that restrict how they promote the sale of infant formula products.

In January, Iceland joined a number of retailers in dropping the price of Aptamil lines. It passed on a saving to customers after manufacturer Danone reduced the wholesale price of formula in response to criticism following the publication of a CMA report in November that found formula prices had risen by 25% over the two previous years.

CMA to investigate formula prices further

Last week, the CMA kicked off the next stage of its ongoing investigation into the infant formula market, as part of its wider investigation into competition within the grocery sector launched in response to the cost of living crisis.

The regulator will conduct a market study that will look at how consumer behaviour, regulation and supply chain barriers affect sales and prices of infant formula products. It’s set to publish its findings in September 2024.

“Families with babies are still struggling with the cost of living crisis and we have a moral obligation to take action,” Walker said. “I’m pleased the Competition & Markets Authority is investigating the baby formula market, but while we await their findings, families need support now.

“The prime minister has said he is ‘sad’ families are watering down formula to try and make it last longer, but again these are just words and Iceland is today taking further action.

“I welcome SMA’s decision to listen to our call and work with us to deliver an industry-leading formula price. This will be the cheapest available in supermarkets and is a demonstration that we’re committed to this campaign and investing in cutting prices to help our customers,” Walker said.

Iceland’s campaign has been welcomed by nutrition charity Feed, which called on other retailers to follow suit.

Erin Williams, co-founder and director of Feed, said: “Feed commend Richard and his team for their efforts in engaging with formula companies to reduce in-store prices for families and we call on other retailers and formula companies to follow suit.

“The significant price drop in SMA Little Steps highlights just how much profit margin there is in this essential product, and is no comfort to families who have been driven to drastic measures over the past year.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that a supermarket CEO and his team are doing more to help struggling families than the UK government. They need to get their finger out and start making real, lasting changes that ensure families have the financial means to make sure no baby goes hungry. It’s really not much to ask that in 2024 British families can feed their children.”