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This Food Is Alarmingly Low in Stock Across America—But Costco Has It

Families across the country are scrambling to find solutions.

One grocery item is in high demand but in short supply in the U.S.

Baby formula is becoming hard to come by all across the country as grocery stores like Walmart and Kroger continue to restrict the amount that people can buy at once. Grocery stores like Costco, however, continue to offer the products in bulk supply at a low price.

At stores across the U.S., 40% of top-selling baby formulas were out of stock the week of April 24, a new analysis from Datasembly shows. The firm tracked baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores. National out-of-stock levels increased from 31% to 40% between April 3 and April 24.

costco baby formula
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Related: These Are Costco's Most Popular Items Right Now

"This is a shocking number that you don't see for other categories," Ben Reich, CEO of Datasembly told CBS MoneyWatch.

The supply of baby formula was already constrained due to a national recall on a variety of Abbott Nutrition products earlier this year.

Prices of baby formula have also spiked—which is concerning to many families and caregivers since about three-quarters of babies in the U.S. drink formula within their first six months of life. The average cost of formula is now up as much as 18% over the past year.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America recently issued a statement on its website assuring parents that manufacturers are increasing production to meet families' needs. The council also encouraged parents to keep a two-week supply of formula at home and not hoard products.

In January, Enfamil, a leading baby formula brand, said it was coping with an unprecedented 18% surge in demand for baby formula nationwide.

"We have taken steps to ramp up production and are currently shipping 50% more product, to address issues as fast as possible," a spokesperson for Reckitt, maker of Enfamil, told CBS News in a statement at the time.

If families are in emergency situations, local food pantries, churches, shelters, and hospital emergency rooms may be able to provide a small amount of formula based on need. Additionally, families can contact Feeding America or dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a community resource specialist who can connect them to local resources.

For more news on the formula shortage, check out A Shortage of This Essential Baby Food Is Getting Worse.

Kristen Warfield
Kristen Warfield is the weekend editor for Eat This, Not That! and is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz’s journalism program in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Read more