'No idea it was this bad': Customers shocked by Woolworths baby formula frenzy

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

The controversial surge in sales of baby formula shows no sign of slowing down after another shopping frenzy was captured on camera at a Melbourne Woolworths.

Footage uploaded to Reddit on Sunday shows dozens of customers queuing with boxes of baby formula at what is understood to be a Woolworths branch at Chadstone Shopping Centre in the city’s southeast.

“There was a line from one end of the supermarket to the other full of people carrying boxes of baby formula,” Reddit user BeBa420, who shared the clip, wrote over the clip from Sunday morning.

One Reddit user was stunned over the extent of the interest in baby formula. Source: Reddit/ BeBa420

Over 20 customers in line can be seen snaking around the store, with the congregation spilling into a shopping aisle.

“Looked at my phone, it was 8am on the dot. When I walked in a few minutes earlier I hadn’t noticed anyone, but now there were all these people. All buying the exact same thing.”

The Reddit user claimed after conversing with the cashier, they were told it was a common occurrence when the store received its weekly delivery.

A store manager at Chadstone confirmed to Yahoo7 News there is a purchase limit for customers in place but refused to reveal the amount customers are allowed to buy. He refrained from commenting on the matter further.

In August, Woolworths increased their customer purchase limit from 2 to 8, after claiming to have improved the supply of formula.

However speculation in the comments on the video suggested some stores were not adhering to the limit.

Dozens queued to purchase boxes of baby formula at the store. Source: Reddit/ BeBa420

Bulk buying of baby formula has been a delicate issue in Australia in recent months with many parents claiming to have been left high and dry trying to buy formula for their children.

Shoppers referred to as ‘daigou’ have been regularly filmed raiding Australian supermarkets, often before the tins even hit the shelves.

They send the tins to China to cash in on that country’s seemingly insatiable demand for premium instant formula.

The latest clip was inundated with comments from customers shocked at the extent of the problem.

“I feel bad for Australian parents,” one comment read.

“I had no idea it was this bad,” another said.

Others suggested leading supermarkets weren’t concerned about the amount sold to individual customers as long as the product was selling.

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo7 News they are now planning to backflip on their original decision and reduce the number of cans sold per transaction.

“We can confirm from next week week the baby formula limit will revert to two tins per transaction,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ll closely monitor our on shelf availability and feedback from customers as we make this adjustment.

“We will communicate this limit to our store teams and ensure our customers are advised by displaying signs in our stores.”

The spokesperson confirmed the Chadstone store did not breach the current limit in reference to the footage captured on Sunday.