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Baby Formula FAQs - Store Brand Formula

Here are some frequently asked questions about store brand baby formula.

Q: What does Perrigo Nutritionals make?

A: Today, Perrigo Nutritionals manufactures infant formula products in an ISO 9001:2015-certified, infant formula-manufacturing facility.

Perrigo Nutritionals is the largest supplier of store-brand infant formulas producing 50 formulas, found in 47 retailers and more than 30,000 retail locations in the United States, including major retailers such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, Kroger, CVS and Walgreens.

In addition to infant formulas, Perrigo Nutritionals also distributes store brand baby foods and nutritious toddler snacks, pediatric and adult nutritional beverages, vitamins, minerals, and supplements.

Q: Why should consumers feel confident buying a store brand infant formula?

A: Perrigo Nutritionals manufactures infant formula products in the only International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008-certified, infant formula-manufacturing facilities in the United States, assuring that the highest quality management systems are adhered to.

Store brand formulas meet the exacting standards of the FDA as outlined in the Infant Formula Act of 1980, yet cost up to 50% less* than brand name formulas. Store brand formulas also meet the nutritional levels recommended by the U.S. National Academy of Science-National Research Council and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the largest organization of pediatricians dedicated to the health and well-being of infants and children.

Just like Enfamil® and Similac®, store brand formulas provide complete nutrition for growing babies and meet FDA requirements for safety, nutrition and quality. Store brand formulas are easy to digest and contain key ingredients found in mother's milk to support a healthy baby's growth and development. Including ingredients such as:

  • Calcium for the development of strong bones
  • DHA & ARA which may support brain and eye development
  • Prebiotics for natural immune system support

And these formulas save families up to $8.00 or more per can; over your baby's first year that savings can add up to about $500*.

Q: What are the differences in store brand infant formula from a name-brand formula?

A: Price (About ten dollars). All formulas must meet the same nutritional criteria. Perrigo Nutritionals makes formulas that provide exactly the same nutritional value as the brand name comparison. Side-by-side comparisons reveal little, if any difference in the nutrient levels or ingredient listings for comparable formulas.

Q: How can store brand formulas cost so much less, but still offer the same level of nutrition?

A: National brand manufacturers know that purchasing infant formula is a complex, emotional decision. So they spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing every year trying to attract new moms. They use expensive tactics like television advertising and direct mail to get “high value” coupons and samples into mom's hands, before she even gives birth. National brand manufacturers know that if I mom initiates formula feeding with their brand, moms get mentally “hooked” on these expensive products. All of these marketing costs are ultimately reflected in their retail prices.

Perrigo Nutritionals doesn't spend a lot of money on marketing. The majority of our expenses are the ingredients and the quality built into our manufacturing process. We know that moms are smart. When a mom discovers that store brand formulas are just as nutritious as national brands, but cost a lot less, she tells her friends. That's why store brands have grown faster than national brands for the last five years in a row.

Q: Are all of the store brand formulations the same across retailers?

A: Perrigo Nutritionals offers 50 different infant nutrition formulas to 47 retailers, in more than 30,000 retail locations in the United States and around the world, as well as online at sites such as Diapers.com. While the offerings and store brand name vary by retailer, the formulations are manufactured to consistent quality standards for each category.

Q: How much can buying store brand infant formulas save parents a year?

A: Perrigo Nutritionals infant nutrition formulas retail between $13.00 - $15.00 per can, compared to the national brands' infant formulas that retail for $21.00 - $26.00 per can.

Assuming an infant from birth to 12 months goes through approximately one can per week that would add up to:

For Perrigo Nutritionals Infant Formulas

  • 1 can/week x 52 weeks/year = $676.00 – $780.00/year

For National Brand Name Infant Formulas

  • 1 can/week x 52 weeks/year = $1,092 - $1,352/year

Potential cost savings by buying a store brand formula over brand name: $416.00 to $676.00*

Q: Do you have samples? Why don’t you provide samples?

A: We realize free infant formula samples provide a benefit to both your patients and practice, but they are very expensive to produce, mail, and personally deliver. One of the many ways we keep our costs down is by not providing free samples. In addition, store brand infant formulas offer up to 50% savings every day2—so there is no need for on-going coupon hunting; by partnering with retail, grocery, and drug stores, we offer complete nutrition at a more affordable price.

Q: Is Perrigo subject to the same FDA regulations as the National Brands?

A: Yes. All infant formula legally sold in the United States must meet the same FDA standards for quality and nutrition. In fact, Congress has passed legislation mandating specific requirements to ensure the health of all children:

  • Infant Formula Act of 1980: Set mandatory requirements for labeling, quality, and recalls as well as nutrient content minimums for 29 nutrients.
  • Infant Formula Act of 1986: Requires infant formula manufacturers to submit formulas to the FDA when there is a major formulation change and clarifies quality regulations.
  • The “Final Rule” of 2014. In 2014, the FDA issued a final rule under section 412 of the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act that finalized manufacturing and quality control procedures to prevent the manufacture of adulterated infant formula, ensure the safety of infant formula, and ensure that the nutrients in infant formula are present in a form that is bioavailable to ensure the growth of infants.
  • Selenium Added as Required Nutrient in 2015. With this addition, the number of required nutrients increased from 29 to 30 nutrients with minimum and maximum levels. All infant formula legally sold in the USA must meet these requirements.
  • For more information, please visit https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/questions-answers-consumers-concerning-infant-formula.
Q: Why aren’t store brand infant formulas manufactured by Perrigo WIC-approved?

A: Perrigo chooses not to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) selection process. Consequently, store brand infant formulas are not available to parents through the WIC program.

WIC is a supplemental program; it is not intended to provide for 100% of an infant’s needs3. In Texas, for example, the maximum amount of formula provided in the first three months of life is nine containers of 12.4 oz powder, or approximately 112 ounces of powder. Each container provides approximately 90 ounces (2700 mL of formula), or enough for close to three days. Considering unavoidable small amounts of wastage, this is approximately 80% of a typical infant’s needs3. Thus, most families receiving WIC must obtain some infant formula beyond what is provided by WIC if their infant is fully formula-fed.

According to a study in Clinical Pediatrics4, two-thirds of families in the WIC program run out of WIC-supplied baby formula toward the end of most months. Among these families, 27 percent reported “formula-stretching”—watering down infant formula or reducing feedings—which can have serious health and developmental consequences for babies.

Store brand infant formulas typically cost up to 50% percent less than nationally advertised brands2. When your patients run out of WIC formula each month, you can confidently recommend store brand formula; they can purchase at a lower price until they receive the next month’s vouchers.

In the United States, each state solicits bids from infant formula manufacturers for the WIC contract. In some cases, the products are the older generations of name brand products. Current analysis reveals that the manufacturer with the winning bid typically sells formula to the government near or just below the cost to manufacture the formula5, sold at leading retail stores at prices customers can afford. It is cost-prohibitive for Perrigo to bid on WIC contracts; the savings consumers already enjoy would no longer be as substantial.

Instead, Perrigo innovates and provides top quality nutrition to parents at affordable prices.

Q: Can families switch between formulas if their WIC allotment runs out?

A: Definitely. WIC is supplemental nutrition and is not intended to last the full month. When families finish their WIC formula, they can look for the store brand option that matches the nutrition of the advertised brand. All infant formula in the United States is required to meet the same strict nutrition and safety standards set by the FDA. For each formulation, we try to make it easy for families to find their store brand option by working with retailers to use similar colors and names.

Q: What brands does Perrigo make?

A: Perrigo currently manufactures all U.S. store brand infant formulas to exacting quality standards. Our FDA-inspected facilities are in Vermont and Ohio, U.S.A. Our dairy ingredients are sourced from leading dairy markets, including the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. We do NOT produce infant formula overseas.

No matter where you shop, our store brand infant formulas are available in grocery, drug, online and club stores. This includes national and regional retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, HEB, Meijer, CVS, Walgreens and many more.

Q: What is the caloric information for ALL Perrigo brands?

A: All store brand infant formulas provide 20 kcal/ounce.

Q: What are the differences between Perrigo and National Brands by type?

A: Store brand infant formulas are formulated like any generic product. This means the formulas we produce support growth and development, are high quality, and match the nutrition of the big-name advertised brands. The primary difference is the price.

We are mindful of the lid and label colors used by the national brands when we design the packaging for our store brand infant formulas. This means – in most cases - families are more easily able to find a specific formula and compare the nutrition and price. (The big difference is the price.)

There is a “Compare to” statement on every formula we manufacture. Our labels include a full “Compare & Save” chart listing nutrient, vitamin, and mineral levels in our product, the relevant national brand and the level required by the FDA. This makes it easy to compare nutrition and learn more about store brand savings.

Q: What is the Perrigo equivalent to each National Brand?

A: Just like the national brands, Perrigo makes a variety of formulations for routine and solution-based feeding. We make milk-based and soy-based formulas for routine-feeding, as well as formulas that address tolerance issues. These include solutions for:

  • Healthy infants who may experience fussiness, discomfort, crying, spit up or gas: The formula contains partially hydrolyzed (partially broken down) cow’s milk proteins (whey and casein).
  • Tolerance issues associated with intact or whole cow’s milk protein: The formula with partially hydrolyzed protein (partially hydrolyzed casein and intact whey).
  • Tolerance issues associated with lactose: The formula is 99% reduced lactose, compared to a standard milk-based formula.
Q: Where does Perrigo make infant formula? Are your products from China or India?

A: We produce store brand infant formulas in FDA-inspected facilities in Vermont and Ohio, U.S.A. Our dairy ingredients are sourced from leading dairy markets, including the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. We do NOT produce infant formula overseas. Not in China, and not in India.

Many of our ingredients are either USP- or FCC-grade ingredients and our facilities are audited for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance. While Perrigo sources raw materials globally, all raw materials, regardless of their country of origin, are required to meet the same stringent quality standards as their counterparts in the United States.

To safeguard product quality and safety, Perrigo employs a comprehensive risk-based quality assurance (QA) program throughout the product supply chain that confirms the quality and reliability of our raw materials and suppliers. Our program also includes audits of suppliers and sampling and testing of products. In addition, qualified vendors agree to follow all applicable requirements and standards.

All Perrigo infant formula products undergo testing required by the FDA to ensure the product is safe for use. Perrigo is fully compliant with the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code, which certifies that a supplier’s food safety and quality management system complies with this international and domestic food-safety standard. We also conduct a finished product surveillance testing program to further enhance product compliance, safety, and quality.

*Retail prices are from a October 2017 retail price survey of national retail stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location.

2Calculations based on March 2020 IRi Market Advantage annual retail sales data of national brand infant formula powder compared to store brand infant formula powder cost per pound based on an average weekly usage of 1.5 pounds of powder.

3Protecting Vulnerable Infants by Ensuring Safe Infant Formula Use. Abrams, Steven A. et al. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2019. Volume 211, 201 – 206.

4Are Our Babies Hungry? Food Insecurity Among Infants in Urban Clinics. Burkhardt, Mary Carol et al. Clinical Pediatrics. 2012Mar;51(3):238-43.

5Tracy, Tennille. “Makers of Baby Formula Press Their Case on WIC Program: Food-assistance benefit is up for renewal in Congress this year.” wsj.com April 27, 2015. https://www.wsj.com/articles/makers-of-baby-formula-press-their-case-on-wic-program-1430177799

6Reflects an average consumption of 26 fluid ounces per day in the first year. Pricing, reconstitution rates, and infant formula consumption may vary. Based on IRi Market Advantage sales data March 2020.

7Enfamil® is a registered trademark of Mead Johnson & Co. Similac® is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories. Store brand infant formulas are not made by or affiliated with Mead Johnson & Co., or Abbott Laboratories.

Enfamil®, Enfamil® Infant, and Gentlease® are registered trademarks of Mead Johnson & Co. Similac®, Advance®, and Similac Sensitive® are registered trademarks of Abbott Laboratories. Store brand infant formulas are not made by or affiliated with Mead Johnson & Co., Abbott Laboratories.

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