The Conversation: Kevin Ketels on factors contributing to formula shortage
Kevin Ketels, global supply chain management assistant professor of teaching at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business, wrote an article for The Conversation analyzing the factors that have contributed to the baby formula supply chain issues, which have left retailers with dwindling supplies and parents across the country traveling or paying exorbitant sums of money to obtain formula for their babies. Ketels says that the conditions that led to a shortage of baby formula were set in motion long before the February 2022 closure of the Similac factory tipped the U.S. into a crisis. News that the Food and Drug Administration and Similac-maker Abbott have reached a deal to reopen the formula factory in Sturgis, Michigan, is welcome news for desperate parents, but Ketels says it will do little to alleviate the shortage anytime soon – in no small part because of the very nature of the baby formula industry. “The closure of the factory may have lit the fuse for the nationwide shortage, but a combination of government policy, industry market concentration and supply chain issues supplied the powder,” he writes.