scrum among Asian shoppers broke out recently at a Woolworths supermarket in Melbourne after employees brought out a fresh stock of precious baby formula.
In video shared online by Australian media, some shoppers are seen being knocked to the floor in the frenzied scramble to quickly snatch up the valuable tins. Soon, workers were forced to remove the stock to prevent the situation from escalating any further.
Woolworths has called the customer behavior “clearly unacceptable” and threatened to ban the shoppers from their stores.
Ever since six babies died and hundreds of thousands fell ill in China in 2008 after drinking a Chinese infant formula brand that was found to be contaminated with melamine, middle-class Chinese parents have looked abroad for safer options for their children, paying two to three times the price of local brands for imported products.
This has created an enormous business opportunity for anyone with connections in Australia. Back in 2015, it was estimated that half of the baby formula sold in Australian supermarkets ended up in China.
While many Australian supermarkets have placed a limit of two tins of baby formula per shopper, Chinese re-sellers have easily got around this restriction. In a video from last November at a Woolworths in Sydney, a group of Asian shoppers are seen picking up their two tins, heading to the cash register to pay, and then dropping the tins off inside one of a number of trolleys waiting at the store’s entrance before going back into the store to repeat the process.
While this kind of thing has been going on for years, the mass exodus of Australian baby formula to China has been making a surprising number of headlines just in the past week. One story concerns a man who captured footage of boxes and boxes of formula being shipped overseas from an industrial warehouse in Sydney. The man claims that at least 10 trucks a day departed the facility for the airport.
Another story focused on an Asian couple who were spotted spending three hours loading up the trunks of a pair of vehicles with cans upon cans of baby formula as a way of getting around store limits in Sydney.
But the most incredible infant formula story of the week starred a man who was seen taking a “glamour” photo shoot of a tin of the stuff in front of the picturesque Sydney Harbor.