Sneaky ploy to hide baby formula haul from Woolworths staff caught on camera

Stockpilers of baby formula have been criticised for their greed by an international consumer expert as they continue to exploit the loophole that allows them to fill supermarket trolleys with the coveted tins.

Video filmed at a Brisbane Woolworths on Sunday, and obtained by 7 News, shows the professional daigou shoppers walking in and out of the Indooroopilly store with two tins at a time filling trolleys outside the store.

The video shows the man running up to two trolleys as they stand partially obstructed from the view of Woolworths staff by a pillar.

The organised daigou groups export the tins to China for profit, where they can sell for about three times their Australian value.

“These actions are driven by greed, not need,” consumer behaviour analyst Barry Urquhart told 7 News.

Mr Urquhart said the stockpiling of tins to export them for profit has an emotional impact on families who struggle to get enough baby formula for their own needs.

“This is not an economic imperative, this is an emotional reality for many consumers who are being exacerbated by the frustration of lack of convenience.”

Baby formula is a lucrative market for overseas buyers, with reports revealing 1kg tins bought locally for $35 were being resold to overseas consumers for about $100.

A split photo shows (left) shows a man putting baby formula tins into a trolley and (right) two trolleys filled with tins hidden behind a pillar outside Woolworths Indooroopilly. Source: 7 News
Two shoppers were filmed stockpiling two trolleys with baby formula tins in Indooroopilly. Source: 7 News

Woolworths says all shoppers are getting enough baby formula

Woolworths says it has a two-tin limit on the baby formula.

The supermarket chain did not respond to specific questions posed by Yahoo News Australia on Thursday about their policy, but said parents can contact store management if their chosen baby formula is unavailable on the shelves.

“Baby formula stock was available at our Indooroopilly store on 16 June and is available today,” a Woolworths spokesperson said in a statement.

Woolworths was last month blasted by a shopper after she was told at the Chadstone store in Melbourne’s southeast that it was okay for people buying two tins at a time to re-enter the store as many times as they want.

“What a joke,” she said, accusing Woolworths of “blatant profiteering” when she caught on camera a group filling trolleys with baby formula tins at the Chadstone store.

A split photo shows (left) three shopping carts outside a Woolworths supermarket and (right) plastic bags in two trolleys at Chadstone. Source: Facebook
A woman claims a group of shoppers were filling shopping carts and trolleys with baby formula tins at a Woolworths supermarket in Chadstone, Melbourne. Source: Facebook

Chinese demand for Australian baby formula reached new heights earlier this month with soldiers seen loading cartons of the powder onto a Chinese warship during a naval visit to Sydney.

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