Local baby milk priced below $40 for 800g tin
Made-in-Singapore infant formula launched after two years of research
Amid complaints of rising infant formula prices, a made-in-Singapore milk powder touted to cost "25 to 40 per cent cheaper" than premium brands was introduced yesterday.
Einmilk, which is distributed by local firm AE Solution and made by Agri-food and Veterinary Authority-approved SMC Nutrition, will offer four types of milk powder suitable for newborns to toddlers, as well as lactose-intolerant kids.
A 400g tin costs $19 to $25 while an 800g tin ranges from $33 to $39, depending on the age of the child. The younger the child, the pricier the milk.
Einmilk, which is made from New-Zealand sourced milk, has been available at U Stars supermarkets for the past week and can be found on the website Shopify. The brand name is a play on scientist-genius Albert Einstein's name.
The Government has announced measures such as stricter regulations on labelling and advertising to curb rising infant formula prices, which have doubled over the decade to about $56 for a 900g tin.
An estimated 95 per cent of formula milk sales in 2015 were premium and speciality milk, with just 5 per cent for "standard" milk - which costs less than half the price.
The authorities have said that all infant formula sold here meets safety standards and nutritional requirements, and urged consumers against using price as a proxy for quality.
Einmilk had been in the works for more than two years, said Mr Eric Chua, co-founder of AE Solution, which invested in the product.
I plan to breastfeed for the first year or so, and in the meantime, I will read reviews before making a decision.Mother-to-be Karen Cheng on whether she will buy Einmilk
While milk powder from major international names such as Abbott's Similac and Wyeth's S26 are also made in Singapore, Einmilk is believed to be the only one made by a local firm.
Supermarket chains NTUC FairPrice and Cold Storage announced plans earlier this month to develop their own house brand of infant formula.
Mr Chua said: "I saw milk powder brands that cost over $100 and as a businessman, I thought that this is something that we could invest in - a Singapore brand that is affordable as the cost of living has been going up."
Besides spending a year on research and development, "more time" was also devoted to marketing strategies, said Mr Chan Yong Chye, business director of Einmilk.
Mr Chan, who said the milk powder is priced at a level that consumers would be comfortable with, added: "If we price it too low, Singapore consumers will not buy it. Too high and there will be no reason for them to switch."
He said they faced "barriers" to getting their product on the shelves of other supermarkets.
Einmilk plans to expand its availability at more retailers, including major supermarkets, over the next three to six months.
"There are listing and display fees that would affect the prices of our product. We want to minimise that and pass the benefit to customers," Mr Chan said.
Parents contacted by The New Paper said the Singapore-brand name and lower price may not necessarily sway them.
Self-employed Ken Oh, 31, who has a two-year-old child, said: "I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for a brand that is more well known and established. Besides, it is a hassle for me to switch brands when my child has become used to the same milk powder for the past year."
Mother-to-be Karen Cheng, 28, an accounts executive, said she might consider Einmilk but only after researching it and hearing from other parents.
"I plan to breastfeed for the first year or so, and in the meantime, I will read reviews before making a decision."