It was rapidly dispatched to Jeffersonville, Indiana to be distributed to retailers that for weeks had to limit how much infant formula mothers could buy. “If it comes into the port on a Monday, I'm almost certain that they would have it out by Tuesday or Wednesday because the product's so hot,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira said his data showed that from Jan. 1 to May 1 2021 Danone Nutricia sent nearly 770,000 cans of infant formula, filling roughly 100 cargo containers, to the North America. During the comparable period this year, the number skyrocketed to more than 2.4 million cans, he said.
Of that product, 93% went to East Coast US ports, while 7% went to ocean gateways in Mexico, Ferreira said.
Separate US customs data analysed by Reuters shows that on Feb. 22, five days after the Abbott recall, nearly 38,000 kilograms (83,775.66 pounds) of Danone Nutricia cargo arrived in the US from Britain and the Netherlands.
The customs data did not specify the exact nature of the cargo, but described some of it as “clinical nutrition powder” and “medical nutrition”. On March 9, roughly 34,000 kilograms more arrived, followed by nearly 30,000 kilograms on March 30.
Reuters could not obtain records confirming Danone's airborne baby formula imports.
Danone's shares were up 1.6% in early afternoon trade on Paris' blue-chip CAC 40 index.
The deliveries show how the suspension of Abbott's factory and shortages are shaking up the market, giving some players an opportunity to get a share of the lucrative $4.8 billion US baby formula industry.
“Abbott looks to have lost around 2000 basis points of share, going from 40% share to 20%,” Barclays analyst Warren Ackerman estimated on Friday referring to the US market.
Reckitt Benckiser, the long-time No.2 player in the US, told Reuters on Tuesday that it now accounts for more than 50% of total baby formula supply in the country.
The British company said it supplied just over a third of US baby formula prior to Abbott's recall.
It has boosted Enfamil production by about 30% and is making more frequent deliveries to stores as it looks to counter a nationwide shortage in US supermarkets.