Chinese demand for Dutch baby food slowly decreasing

Baby formula (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Симилак)Baby formula (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Симилак)

The Chinese demand for baby formula from the Netherlands seems to finally be slowing down. Stores are reporting fewer professional buyers and parents can once again easily find formula on the shelves, AD reports.

According to Bert van Steeg, spokesperson for retail organization Detailhandel Nederland, the long rows of people waiting in front of stores to get to baby formula as soon as the store opens, are slowly getting shorter. Albert Heijn and Etos stores also noticed "less demand and less inconvenience than before", a spokesperson for Ahold said to the newspaper.

Demand for Dutch baby formula, specifically Nutrilon, started increasing massively in 2008, when Chinese mothers lost confidence in local products. In a baby formula scandal, Chinese baby formula was mixed with toxin melamine, killing six babies and sending more than 50 thousand infants to the hospital.

Chinese consumers started hoarding the formula, resulting in a shortage in the Netherlands. Many Dutch stores imposed measures, such as limiting the sale of Nutrilon to one can per customer. To prevent empty shelves, manufacturer Nutricia increased baby formula production in Europe considerably. Earlier this year Nutricia also made a deal with Chinese online shop Tmall Global to sell the Dutch formula directly on the Chinese market, at much lower prices than other less-official sellers.

Nutricia is pleased with the falling demand. "Due to that there are fewer and fewer incidents that shop staff and customers suffer from", spokesperson Albertine van Wolfswinkel said to AD. The producer will wait and see if it lasts. Detailhandel Nederland agrees. "We are seeing the trend, but don't want to rejoice too soon", Van Steeg said to the newspaper.