The price of infant milk powder has risen sharply over the last few years, and the issue was raised in Parliament on May 8.

According to figures from the Department of Statistics, the average price of a 900g tin of infant milk formula doubled between 2004 and 2014. There was also a 10 per cent increase in price in the last two years.

The New Paper, for instance, reports that over the past decade, the average price of a tin of milk powder has hiked from $25.42 to $56.06, a rise of about 120 per cent.

Addressing questions in Parliament on the issue on Monday, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said a market study by the Competition Commission of Singapore found that the rise in milk powder prices were not due to any anti-competitive behaviour by formula milk manufacturers in Singapore.

(And in case you’re wondering what they believe is the actual reason for this happening, Koh says the commission’s report will be published this week.)

Koh said there are a number of formula milk products in Singapore across different brands that range from $20 to over $60 per 900g. He added that regardless of brand and price, all infant formula milk products sold here must meet the safety and nutrient requirements set by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority.

He also encouraged consumers to make informed decisions and exercise their choice by buying from businesses that offer prices that are appropriate for their children’s needs.

To help consumers, he said the government would take measures to make more formula milk options available in the market.

Encouraging breastfeeding

In his Parliamentary speech, Koh also pointed out that the Health Promotion Board (HPB), and various international organisations such as the World Health Organisation, strongly encouraged breastfeeding as it is best able to meet the nutritional needs of infants and had the added benefits of promoting maternal-child bonding.

Referring to recommendations by HPB and health authorities in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, Koh also said that whole cow’s milk can be introduced as part of a balanced diet for children older than one, instead of formula milk.

Top image from Fairprice website.

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