FOOD & BEVERAGE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Infant formula market dries up as mothers return to breastfeeding: report

Nine in 10 mothers in Singapore engaged in either partial or full breastfeeding in 2018.

As a result, formula milk value sales decreased by 11% from 2016 to 2017, and 10% from 2017 to 2018, according to Nielsen’s recent Baby Power 2018 report.

The report highlighted several key findings such as:

● Moms are breastfeeding their babies for an average of 8.1 months vs 6.8 months in 2016.
● Formula milk value sales decreased by 11% from 2016 to 2017, and 10% from 2017 to 2018.
● 88% of value sales for formula milk are from in-store purchases while 12% are from local e-commerce sites.
● 45% of moms stop maternal milk consumption just when their child is born.

Chart 1: Incidence of Breastfeeding in Singapore

Source: Nielsen’s Baby Power 2018 report


The report added that 54% and 51% feed their babies with a mixed diet during hospital stay and right after they discharge respectively. Formula milk sales for infants aged 0 to 6 months has also increased by 7% from 2017 to 2018. 61% indicated that feeding their babies with formula milk in addition to breast milk creates a peace of mind.

Other findings were that 57% and 49% of moms are willing to pay more for foods that are respectively GMO-free or organic, almost a 10% increase from 2016. An average of 70% of mothers with infants from all age groups indicate that protecting their child from falling sick easily is a top area of concern. 21% and 39% of mothers respectively remarked that milk brands that demonstrate category innovation for infant nutrition are “extremely important” and “very important”.

39% of moms with babies aged 0 to 12 months consume maternal milk during pregnancy, but this figure drops to 15% after pregnancy.

Nielsen added that 55% cited disliking powdered milk as the main reason for not having maternal milk during pregnancy. 34% indicated that the excessively sweet taste of the milk is the central deciding factor to stop the halt of maternal milk consumption after giving birth.

Chart 2: Reasons for not consuming maternal milk during pregnancy

Source: Nielsen’s Baby Power 2018 report

“If most mothers are breastfeeding, then the more so they should continue maternal milk to boost the nutrients their babies get from them. In this aspect, there is an opportunity for educating moms on the importance of including maternal milk in one’s postpartum diet. Improving milk flavour, or producing liquid format milk will also encourage moms to consume and continue maternal milk intake,” said Garick Kea, Head of Consumer Insights, Nielsen Singapore.

51% and 42% of moms respectively rely on word-of-mouth and the internet as insight sources of milk brands. Internet information seekers mostly rely on social networking sites and baby care or parenting online forums.

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