Coping with the 2022 infant formula shortage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To estimate the proportion of US consumers who sought formula during the shortage, what coping mechanisms they used, and public support for formula policies, we conducted an online survey of approximately 1,000 US consumers in August 2022 via Qualtrics. Approximately 35% of consumers attempted to purchase formula during the shortage, for their own household or on behalf of someone else, and the most common coping mechanisms were focused on searching different outlets (e.g., multiple stores, online). During the shortage public health agencies published recommendations for consumers – some were highly utilized (e.g., searching multiple stores), however, some were utilized less frequently (e.g., brand switching, breastfeeding). Additionally, despite warnings, some consumers still attempted to make their own formula. Understanding what coping mechanisms were and were not utilized, and their related risks has important implications for improving public health outreach in the future. Finally, we find considerable public support for regulation to ensure adequate supply of formula in the future, in particular regulation allowing imported formula and increased government involvement in the number of firms producing formula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102123
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Formula
  • Health communication
  • Health policy
  • Infant health
  • Shortage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Informatics


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