Buying generic formula can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars during the 12 months that you will be feeding your baby formula. And unless your baby requires a hypoallergenic or elemental formula, nearly every other option exists in generic – so chances are extremely good that it’s a possibility for you.
In addition, it is stocked all over the place! Your big name retailers like Wal-Mart, Aldi and Target carry it, as do your smaller grocery store and drug store chains. It can also be bought online and shipped (and in many cases the shipping is free).
All infant formula in the United States must meet the same FDA regulations. All formulas are nutritious and safe. Babies thrive on name brand and generic just the same.
So, what’s the deal then? Why isn’t everyone and their brother using it?!
I find three main reasons why parents opt out of feeding generic formula when they could opt in:
(1) They get comfortable with the brand that they were given in the hospital, or at their doctor’s office, and fear that switching will upset a content baby. There are ways to successfully transition any baby from one formula to another!
(2) They feel that if they’re not going the “breast is best” route then they should at least give “second best,” which is name brand, pricy formula. Malarkey! As outcomes are the same.
(3) Culturally and socially speaking, we are conditioned to associate high price with high quality. That fact may apply to designer hand bags, but it does not apply to FDA-regulated infant formula where quality is forced to be held constant.
But how can a company produce the same quality for so much less and still make money? Where prices are lower, quality has to be compromised to control for profit, right? Something’s gotta’ give?
Something does have to give and it does – marketing. You have probably never heard of the company Perrigo, for instance, even though they supply generic formula to 68 different retailers and some 40,000 store locations nationwide. And there’s a reason for that – they don’t want you to see them. They don’t need it. Their prices speak for themselves and don’t require billboards and commercials. But look at a container of generic formula sold by Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens, or Wegmans and you will see their name.
Name brand formula will always dominate the market, and generic manufacturers like Perrigo know it. That’s because the federal government – which purchases over 50% of all formula in the United States for the WIC program – will only accept contracts with name brand formula companies.
Name brand formula companies are also most likely to receive contracts with hospitals, which are large institutions that also need to purchase formula. I’ve already mentioned up above the “fear of switching” phenomenon and parent’s inclination to stay brand loyal. Well, when a name brand formula company lands a hospital contract it means that they have an improved chance of gaining year-long customers and beyond. That is, you will stay brand loyal for the year that your baby is consuming formula, and if you like their product you will feed it to future children, and even recommend it to friends.
So, with a huge chunk of the formula market taken up by WIC and hospital purchasing contracts, which are only open to name brand infant formula companies, other competitors are on the market fringe and it makes no good sense for them to heavily invest in marketing. Opting out of the competition in this way (by force) allows them to sell their product at a deep discount while still maintaining profit.
*Note: I/Formula Feeding Helpline receive zero endorsements from any company. I do not represent any company. I do, however, strongly support the use of generic formula. I have fed all of my children generic and consider it a logical and economical decision.
So how much do you stand to save? Let’s take a look:
Questions about how to make the switch to generic and start saving?! Or questions about how to choose a formula that’s right for your baby or the sings that your baby may need a different formula? Contact us now!