Business

Brands release special products, packaging for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee

May 26, 2022

Buckingham Palace is pulling out all the stops to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the British throne—and brands are following suit with an array of limited-edition products and packaging, reports The Wall Street Journal.

British consumers in the run-up to the celebrations from June 2 through June 5 can shop for Platinum Jubilee-themed potato chips, lipsticks, condiments, and gins. There also is a Jubilee-themed stuffed toy shaped like an anthropomorphic carrot dressed as the Queen.

A Jubilee refrigerator, adorned with a Union Jack recolored in “Clean Black,” “Glam Lavender,” and “Glam Peach” hit the market this month courtesy of Samsung Electronics. So did Mattel’s “Queen Barbie,” which department store John Lewis & Partners said sold out in minutes. And stores across the U.K. are displaying window signs calling out to “Get Jubilee Ready.”

Companies hope to cash in on a long weekend of partying with packaging and product designs aiming to connect their brands to the national celebration of the Queen herself rather than the monarchy, which divides public opinion.

“In the U.K. we treat Jubilees as a moment of shared celebration, so it’s not only a time for brands that see themselves as super royalist,” said Jo Arden, chief strategy officer at advertising agency Ogilvy UK. “It is about being part of the national conversation.”

Royal commemorative objects first appeared in the U.K. in the 16th century, and the quantity and diversity of souvenirs boomed following the Industrial Revolution, said Amy Dobson, curator of the London Museum of Brands’ “Jubilation: 200 Years of Royal Souvenirs” exhibition.

Aligning brands with royalty adds a premium air to products, and introducing limited-edition lines creates a sense of urgency to buy, Dobson said.

Brands also view the Platinum Jubilee as a once-in-a-lifetime cultural moment they can lean on to sell more products amid a nationwide economic squeeze, marketers said.

Indeed, the Centre for Retail Research estimated consumers will spend the equivalent of $510 million during the Jubilee, including about $350 million for souvenirs and memorabilia and $150 million on festivities.

“Tapping into moments like the Jubilee helps bring our brands top of mind and ultimately drives sales,” said Anke von Hanstein, senior brand manager for sauces at Kraft Heinz .

Heinz for the Jubilee renamed two sauces: Its HP brown sauce has become HM—a nod to “Her Majesty”—and its Salad Cream is for a limited time Salad Queen. Heinz hopes the quirky branding will encourage consumers to buy bottles for street parties during the long weekend, von Hanstein said, adding the branding keeps its focus on the Queen, not the monarchy.

The label for Right Royal Pickle, a special-edition jarred pickled chutney from condiment company Tracklements, likewise focuses on the Queen, with a cartoon of her and her corgis.

“We don’t feel this is showing a political bias because [the Jubilee] seems like quite a mutual, fun celebration—everyone coming out of COVID; everyone being able to get back together again, the spirit of the street party,” said Sally Dorling, marketing manager of Tims Dairy which released a new “Strawberry Royale” flavor yogurt around the Jubilee.

The limited-edition yogurt, which is mixed with a strawberry-champagne conserve, features a small, tiara-like design drawing, similar to illustrations of crowns on Heinz’s sauce labels. The Platinum Jubilee design of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate also features a simple line drawing of a crown, the official emblem for the celebration.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s flag has been employed very subtly, if at all, on limited-edition packaging. Designs are more likely to feature the flag with muted colors and a matte finish in contrast to earlier Jubilees, including the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, when the U.K. was gearing up to host the Olympic Games and the flag in traditional red, white and blue was flying everywhere, said the Museum of Brands’ Dobson.

“I wonder if the new designs for the Platinum Jubilee are reflective of consumer sentiment this year,” she said. “We’re going through turbulent times. Perhaps some of the brands are playing it just a little bit safer.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Jen Psaki to join MSNBC as on-air contributor this fall

May 25, 2022

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki  is joining cable news channel MSNBC as an on-air contributor and will also host a new program for Peacock, the NBCUniversal streaming platform, the network announced on May 24.

Psaki, who stepped down from her role as chief spokesperson for President Joe Biden earlier this month, joins a long list of White House officials who have taken jobs on cable news after leaving government, reports The Wall Street Journal.

CNN and Fox News also have served as landing spots for political operatives and government officials—among them, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who served as a CNN political commentator during part of the 2016 campaign; and former Trump White House press secretaries Sarah Sanders  and Kayleigh McEnany, both of whom immediately joined Fox News . (Sanders is no longer with the network.)

Before joining the Biden administration, Psaki was a contributor for CNN—and before that, she served in President Barack Obama’s administration.

MSNBC President Rashida Jones said that Psaki is “a familiar face and trusted authority to MSNBC viewers, and we look forward to her insight during this consequential election season.”

Psaki said in a statement that her time in government “will fuel the insight and perspective” she will bring to MSNBC.

The network didn’t disclose many details of the program Psaki would host for Peacock, which is scheduled to debut early next year. In its statement, MSNBC said it would “bring together her unique perspective from behind the podium and her deep experience in the highest levels of government and presidential politics.”

Psaki was succeeded at the White House by Karine Jean-Pierre, herself a former MSNBC contributor.

Research contact: @WSJ

The new ‘Top Gun’ will need mighty wings

May 23, 2022

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, “Top Gun” fans should be flying high. Paramount Pictures’ “Top Gun: Maverick” makes its debut next weekend—almost exactly 36 years after the original movie first hit theaters, reports The Wall Street Journal.

It also might be one of the most delayed movies of the pandemic era, having seen its release date move four times since April 2020. But the studio seems to have picked its final landing spot well; the domestic box office has hit about $2.3 billion so far this year, propelled by blockbusters like “The Batman” and “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Both films scored among the highest opening weekends of their respective franchises—even when compared with prepandemic releases, according to Box Office Mojo.

Despite all the trappings of a blockbuster in its own right, though, the new “Top Gun” is still risky in the COVID era, the Journal says. The domestic box office is trending more than 40% below its prepandemic level. Those films that have worked mostly come from established franchises in the superhero genre. That creates uncertain prospects for a movie with a single predecessor that came out during the Cold War. Even young teens who loved the first “Top Gun” are pushing 50 now—a demographic that has proven somewhat reluctant to return to movie theaters.

Still, that one movie was a big deal. The original “Top Gun” was the top-grossing film of 1986 and became a cultural touchstone, firmly establishing Tom Cruise as one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading actors. Its total inflation-adjusted domestic haul of nearly $438 million made it the highest-grossing movie until the first “Batman” came out three years later, according to box-office data site The Numbers.

Epectations aren’t quite as high this time, but they are close. Shawn Robbins of Boxoffice Pro, which makes projections for U.S. theatrical exhibitors, estimates “Top Gun: Maverick” will range between $280 million to $395 million in total domestic box office. That would put the movie solidly in the top-five projected grossing films for the summer; projections for the new “Dr. Strange” and “Jurassic World Dominion,” coming out in mid-June, are currently higher.

Paramount Global, the recently renamed parent of the namesake studio, is expected to see theatrical revenue jump 71% year over year, to about $229 million in the second quarter—the segment’s highest since the third quarter of 2019, according to consensus estimates from FactSet.

And analysts expect U.S. theater chains AMC Entertainment and Cinemark to report combined admission revenue topping $1 billion for the second quarter—another postpandemic high.

Can the new “Top Gun” hit that target? Yes, the Journal says—provided the movie has appeal beyond the Gen-X crowd that made the first one such a hit. According to a recent survey by Wedbush Securities, more than half of those aged 45 and up haven’t been to a movie theater over the past year, compared with just over 20% of those between 18 and 24. But the same survey found nearly 70% of respondents in the 45-55 age category planned to attend a movie this year, with even higher numbers in younger age brackets.

Appealing to a wide audience in 2022 requires the new “Top Gun” to keep the charm of the original while losing some of its more dated elements. Early reviews suggest that it has, with many calling the new film superior to the first and praising the aerial shots and other visual effects that were created largely without computers.

And Cruise, who turns 60 in July, has done well keeping himself in front of younger movie audiences. His “Mission: Impossible” franchise, alone, has totaled nearly $3.6 billion in global box office revenue to date, with two more installments currently in production.

Research contact: @WSJ

Elon Musk’s Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma, is suspended from nation’s versions of TikTok, Twitter

May 20, 2022

Elon Musk‘s viral Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma, appears to have been suspended on the Chinese versions of TikTok and Twitter, reports Business Insider. 

At press time, Insider saw that Ma’s page on Douyin—China’s version of TikTok —had been purged of all content. At the same time, a content-restriction notification citing a violation of the platform’s policies was slapped on Ma’s page on Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like platform.

Representatives from Douyin’s parent company, Bytedance, and Weibo’s parent company, Sina, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

In a response to press queries from Insider, Ma said he had not received an appropriate explanation from Weibo or Douyin on why his account was suspended. At press time, he had not responded to a follow-up request from Insider to verify via video call if he truly resembled Musk.

At press time, Ma’s page on the international version of TikTok, where he is known by the username “Elong Musk,” was still active. Ma has more than 239,000 followers on the platform, with about 3.9 million likes on his videos.

“All platform videos are ported, I only have TikTok. I love you,” said the profile description on Ma’s TikTok page. Ma first went viral on Douyin  in November 2020 for videos that appeared to show a striking resemblance to Musk. He later attracted the attention of Musk when the Tesla CEO quipped in response to a clip of Ma that he, too, may be “partly Chinese.”

Ma subsequently uploaded several videos on TikTok, including one in which he expressed his thoughts on Musk’s high-profile acquisition of Twitter. In this clip, he points excitedly at a printout of the Twitter icon, calling it “my bird!”

Ma’s latest video on TikTok is a photo compilation of him posing in front of a Tesla, captioned: “I want to take my brother for a ride in my Tesla! #elonmusk #tesla.”

Ma’s popularity later led to the Tesla CEO saying he would like to meet Ma in person. “I’d like to meet this guy (if he is real),” Musk tweeted. “Hard to tell with deepfakes these days.”

“I am here. I want very much to see you too! I love you, you are my hero,” Ma wrote in response to the billionaire in a post on Weibo.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

New York MilkLaunch competition seeks dairy startups

May 19, 2022

The New York MilkLaunch startup competition is seeking entrepreneurs, startups, or existing companies to launch innovative dairy products, reports Food Business News.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Advisory Board, and VentureFuel say the program is searching this year for products that appeal to Generation Z consumers (between the ages of 10 and 23).

Independent innovation consultants at VentureFuel will run MilkLaunch, which is encouraging entrants to introduce exciting products in cheese, yogurt, liquid milk, ice cream, butter categories.

“During our first NY MilkLaunch program, we saw so many innovative products that spoke directly to younger consumers in a contemporary way that really enhanced the excitement around dairy,” says Fred Schonenberg, founder of VentureFuel.

He adds, “We also saw many novel ideas focused on sustainability and know that Gen-Z and the New York state dairy community are both deeply passionate about sustainability, resulting in the perfect combination for this year’s focus.”

The program was designed to identify early-stage dairy products, ranging from ideas to existing new products. To be eligible for MilkLaunch, the products have to contain at least 50% fluid dairy milk and have sales of less than $250,000. The winners also must commit to using milk sourced from New York dairy producers for at least one year. Dairy farms, processors, producers, entrepreneurs, academics and ideators all are eligible to enter the competition.

“We are thrilled to work with VentureFuel on the MilkLaunch program this year,” says Larry Bailey, chair of the DPO Advisory Board. “We as New York dairy farmers and the DPO are excited by the program’s focus on sustainability and Generation Z to help promote and sell more dairy products to this impactful group of consumers who strive for a better future.”

Slate Milk, a producer of high-protein milk and lattes, won the previous competition. Co-founder Manny Lubin says MilkLaunch “was a great opportunity” for the company to connect with industry experts.

“It allowed us to learn and get direct feedback from people who have been here before,” Lubin said. “We’re also still in touch with many of the mentors that were a part of the program. They’ve been super helpful along the way.”

The DPO Advisory Board, which advises New York’s State Department of Agriculture on the allocation of milk producer funds, supports MilkLaunch as part of its 2022 goals to promote and increase the consumption of New York milk and dairy products.

Official rules for the competition and application documents are available at nymilklaunch.com. The deadline for applications is June 15.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

NYC developer offers premium, furnished units to top execs who split time between work and home

May 18, 2022

Giant New York City-based developer Related is launching a new lodging brand that targets top business executives who split time between their primary residence and a place near their office, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While a number of developers, lodging companies, and startup firms have focused on offerings for mobile freelance staffers or employees working remotely, Related aims to lure members of top management and others who can pay a premium for amenity-rich buildings where they can mingle with peers.

The first one will be a 270-unit residential tower in the Hudson Yards neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side, where Related has developed a sprawling complex.

Opening in the fall, it features furnished units, concierges and three floors of hotel-like amenities. Rents start at about $5,200 a month for a furnished studio and about $7,200 a month for a one-bedroom unit. Lease terms will start at one year, though they may be shorter in the future.

The brand, named The Set, will also feature wine tastings, speakers and other programs to give residents a sense of community. “People want to know their neighbors,” said Jeff Blau, Related’s chief executive.

More executives who used to work out of offices five days a week now go in only two or three days and work the rest of their time from their homes in the suburbs or even in other cities. These trends have been building in recent years, but were “supercharged” by the pandemic, Blau said.

Other residential and lodging companies have also stepped up efforts recently to appeal to the remote-work crowd. With more people working remotely and extending vacations, Airbnb  introduced last week a new feature allowing guests booking trips for one week or more to divide trips between two different homes. The short-term rental firm said that stays of 28 days or more made up 21% of bookings in the first quarter, above prepandemic levels.

Mint House, a startup that provides upscale hotel experiences in apartment buildings in 15 cities this year, began offering a new program with a higher level of service named Second Home targeting hybrid workers seeking a pied-à-terre near their offices.

“Typically they’re the more senior person in a corporation who has decided: maybe I’ll live in Miami now or maybe I’ll live in Boston now and go to headquarters with whatever frequency,” said Shane Berry, Mint House’s chief customer officer.

Sonder, which manages short-term-rental apartments and hotels, is going after some of the same customers. Kasa, a San Francisco-based startup that is also appealing to remote workers, offers group discounts for companies that book ten rooms or more.

Related’s new project will open in a 45-story Hudson Yards building that it will share with Related’s new senior housing brand named Coterie. Blau said numerous executives who work at offices in Hudson Yards live in the suburbs, work in the office three days a week, and stay at upscale hotels.

Related is planning to expand the brand to other cities—including Miami; Los Angeles; Chicago; and Austin, Texas.

“Here they can rent this unit, walk in, full service, full amenities, fully furnished, sheets, towels, everything; but it’s theirs,” he said. “They can be there three days a week and it’s a lot less expensive than a hotel.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Every U.S. home now has a wildfire threat score—and some areas see a 200% jump in risk

May 17, 2022

Raging New Mexico and California wildfires may offer an ominous outlook for a growing swath of America—and not just in the West, reports CNBC.

Wildfire risk is increasing, likely due to global warming, and its destruction is becoming ever more expensive. Of the wildfires that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has tracked since 1980, 66% of the damage has occurred in the last five years.

Insured damage from wildfires last year totaled $5 billion, according to a Yale University report, marking the seventh consecutive year of insured losses above $2 billion.

Wildfire risk modeling is more crucial than ever to help protect lives and property, and new technology from a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, First Street Foundation, is mapping the threat with house-by-house specificity.

First Street uses everything from property tax data to satellite imagery and assigns a wildfire risk score that factors in construction type, roof type, weather and exposure to natural fuels like trees and grass.

“We calculate every individual property and structure’s risk across the country, be it a commercial building, or be it an individual’s home,” said Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street Foundation. “What you’re able to see from that is that one home might have the same probability as another of being in a wildfire, but may be much more susceptible to burning down.”

Certain homes may be more vulnerable because of their building materials, the defensible space around them or the roof type, for example. The company models the immediate risk to Americans’ homes and then adjusts for projected climate change.

“We can then use supercomputers to simulate 100 million scenarios of wildfire today, and then another 100 million scenarios 30 years in the future with the forecasted weather conditions,” Eby said.

First Street gives every home a unique score and unique probabilities of risk. It did the same for water threats, working with Realtor.com to put a flood score on every property on the home-selling website. That feature is now the second-most clicked map on Realtor.com, behind school district data on K-12 performance.

“The reaction to flood has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s really helpful in being able to make informed decisions and to understand what it is to protect your home,” said Sara Brinton, lead project manager with Realtor.com.

Potential buyers and homeowners who find their flood and fire scores on Realtor.com can click a link for more information on First Street’s site to find out how best to protect their homes.

“On a on a monthly basis, we see tens of millions of impressions against our flood factor data,” said Eby.

More than 71% of recent homebuyers took natural disasters into account when considering where to move, according to a recent survey from Realtor.com and analytics company HarrisX. About half of respondents reported being more concerned about natural disasters today than they were five years ago.

The First Street fire model pays particular attention to what it calls the “wildland urban interface,” where housing developments butt up against wooded areas.

At least 10 million properties rank somewhere between “major” and “extreme” wildfire risk, according to First Street. While flood risk grows by about 25% over a span of 30 years, wildfire risk overall is doubling and jumping more than 200% in places you might not expect, like New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas.

That change helps explains why big firms, like Nuveen Real Estate, are buying the data to inform their investments.

“The First Street data is helping us get that really close look at how will the building be impacted? And more importantly, how can we reflect this increasing risk in our underwriting?” said Jessica Long, head of sustainability for Nuveen’s U.S. real estate portfolio. “We use the data as part of new investment screening as well as part of our annual business-planning process.”

For homeowners, the information not only guides them in buying a home, but it can also help in protecting one they already own. The fire score, for example, can help inform minor changes to reduce that risk, like adjusting landscaping or ventilation. Experts say it’s much easier to protect a home from wildfire than from major flooding.

When First Street introduced its flood-score feature, the data was met with concern that it would lower the value of homes with higher risk. Realtor.com’s Brinton said there have been very few complaints, but added, “In a few places we see homes appreciating somewhat more slowly in areas with high flood-risk scores.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Dinosaur skeleton sells for $12.4 million at Christie’s

May 16, 2022

The remains of a Deinonychus antirrhopus—the prehistoric beast that inspired the velociraptor in Jurassic Park—are believed to be the first of their kind sold at a public auction.It may not be a Matisse or a Warhol, but this multimillion-dollar sale at Christie’s comes from the hand of a different kind of artist: Mother Nature.

Indeed, The New York Times reports that, late on Thursday, May 12, Christie’s sold the skeleton of a Deinonychus antirrhopus for $12.4 million, with fees, to an undisclosed buyer. The auction continues the trend of high-priced fossil sales—a pattern that has irked some paleontologists, who fear that specimens could become lost to science if they are bought by private individuals rather than public institutions.

The auction house said the fossil, nicknamed Hector, was the first public sale of a Deinonychus, an agile, bipedal dinosaur known for the menacing claws on its feet. The sale price was more than double the auction house’s estimated high of $6 million.

The species most likely would not be getting so much attention if not for Jurassic Park. In the novel and 1993 movie, the beasts called velociraptors are actually more like a Deinonychus (the novel’s author, Michael Crichton, once admitted that “velociraptor” just sounded more dramatic).

This skeletal specimen contains 126 real bones, but the rest are reconstructed, including most of the skull, the auction house said. Dating back roughly 110 million years, to the Early Cretaceous period, the specimen was excavated from private land in Montana about a decade ago by Jack and Roberta Owen, self-taught paleontologists, according to Jared Hudson, a commercial paleontologist who bought and prepared the specimen. It was later purchased by the most recent owner, who remains anonymous.

“I had no idea it would end up at Christie’s,” Jack Owen, 69, said in an interview this week. He said he was trained in archaeology and had worked as a ranch manager and fencing contractor.

Owen had struck a deal with the landowner on the ranch where he worked, allowing him to dig for fossils and split the profits, he said. He first spotted some of the bone fragments in an area where he had already found two other animals. Using a scalpel and a toothbrush, among other tools, he and Roberta, his wife, carefully collected the specimen, with some help.

To see it go for millions of dollars is stunning, he said — the profit he received wasn’t anywhere close. But Owen said his fossil hunting wasn’t driven by money.

“It’s about the hunt; it’s about the find,” he said. “You’re the only human being in the world who has touched that animal, and that’s priceless.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Apple ends production of its iconic iPod

May 12, 2022

RIP to the iconic iPod. Apple announced  on Tuesday, May 10, that it’s discontinuing the iPod Touch—the last iPod model produced by the company—marking an end to the gadget that helped shape the music listening experience for 20 years, reports NBC News.

“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry; it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement.

The company first introduced the iPod in 2001—boasting about the device’s “1,000 CD-quality songs” capacity. It launched the iPod Touch, which looked like an iPhone, in 2007.

Apple introduced the most recent iPod Touch model in 2019. With an Internet connection, the latest iPod Touch can send iMessages and make FaceTime calls. Apple said the iPod Touch will still be available for purchase online and at Apple Store locations “while supplies last.”

Many on Twitter mourned the product, which one person noted was the first gadget he ever owned.

“You changed the game,” one user wrote.

“Thank you for making Music and consumer electronics fun!” said another Twitter user, who linked to images of the iPod over time. One image included the iPod ads that featured dark silhouettes, holding iPods in their hands, dancing to upbeat music with bright backgrounds.

“Thank you for 20 years of service,” wrote one Twitter user. “We still miss that click wheel and the tactile buttons.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

America faces baby formula ‘crisis’ as shortage worsens

May 11, 2022

Major U.S. pharmacies recently have restricted sales of baby formula in response to a spiralling shortage of the special milk. CVS and Walgreens are among the big pharmacy chains to have imposed limits on how many cans of baby formula customers can buy at a time, reports the BBC.

The shortages intensified after Abbott— which makes top brand Similac—shut a key factory and issued a recall in February after finding contamination in its supply.

Pressure is building on the Biden Administration to respond to the issue. Republicans—among them, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)—have called it a “national crisis” that the White House must address.

Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut said she was concerned that the Food and Drug Administration , which regulates formula makers, had responded “far too slowly” to the issue; and to the reports of problems at the Abbott factory in Michigan, which remains closed.

Abbott—the main supplier of baby formula to many of the state government programs for low-income women and children—said it was working with regulators to get the plant re-opened.

The company has been sending extra shipments from a plant in Ireland to try to address the problem—expecting shipments from the country to double this year, it added.

“We know that our recent recall caused additional stress and anxiety in an already challenging situation of a global supply shortage,” the company said in a recent statement.

“We are working hard to help moms, dads and caregivers get the high-quality nutrition they need for their babies.”

As of 24 April, the average out-of-stock rate across the country had jumped to 40%, up from just 30% a few weeks earlier—and 11% in November, according to Datasembly. There were 26 states with out-of-stock rates higher than 40%—compared to just seven states three weeks earlier, it said.

Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country,” the major pharmacy chain Walgreens said in a statement, adding, “We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands.”

Walgreens has limited families to buying three cans at a time—similar to other retailers. A 12.4 ounce can of formula typically lasts for about 15 bottles—or just a few days’ worth of supply.

Companies that produce items like baby formula—for which demand is typically steady over time—have trouble catching up when there is disruption, said Rudi Leuschner, director of the Masters in Supply Chain Management program at Rutgers Business School.

And as parents rush to buy as stories of empty shelves spread, that only makes the problem worse, he warned. “It’s not a situation where you can just snap out of it,” he said. “It was designed to run at one speed.”

While this year’s formula shortage may expose the fragility of the supply chain, it may not be enough to make a business case for backup inventories, Professor Leuschner added.

Overall, birth rates are falling, reaching the lowest point on record in the United States in 2020. Studies also have found that consumption of infant formula has been declining in favor of breast milk.

Research contact: @BBC