Are you a new mother in mainland China with a baby to feed? Are you inundated with a case of “too much information” and don’t know where to start regarding the most valued commodity in China – baby milk powder formula? Then believe the hype and keep continuing with this – the 2013 China consumer guide to buying milk formula in Hong Kong!
Part two deals with gauging the quality of various products, while the final part three will deal with specific tips on buying milk powder in Hong Kong and bringing it over the border.
[part one here]
From Sohu Baby:
[ranking the best baby milk powder products]
1. Abbott (Laboratories)
The current recipe for Abbott milk powder products sold in Hong Kong, the United States and Europe is a new one for each of these markets; they include the new ingredient SA (sialic acid, an important agent for promoting growth in the cerebellum). However, the Abbott milk powder products sold in the mainland Chinese market uses an old US formula that dates back to 1993, a situation that in recent years has gradually improved.
In theory, the world’s best milk formula comes from Holland. However, batches are not all the same and don’t necessarily appear under the same conditions. If you have the means to buy milk powder from Hong Kong, then you should do whatever you can to go there and do so. Be aware that the formula for Abbott products sold on the Chinese market lags behind the US market by ten years.
Price Reference: Stage 1 – $258 HKD; Stage 2 – $225 HKD; Stage 3 – $199 HKD; Stage 4 – $162.9 HKD; PediaSure Complete: $231 HKD; PediaSure Complete (Protected & Enriched) – $202 HKD. Purchase policy: unlimited purchases from large scale supermarkets
Friso milk formula products sold in China do not contain SA (sialic acid) when compared to those sold in Hong Kong. Additionally, the protein content in both formulae is not the same. The formula has been adjusted in the Hong Kong and US market, whereas no adjustment has taken place in the mainland. In terms of price, the cost of Friso products in mainland China is much more expensive than that in Hong Kong due to high manufacturing costs. (For example, Beingmate retails at a cost of 160 (RMB) but surprisingly sells at the low wholesale cost of 40 yuan).
Price Reference: Stage 1 – $245 HKD; Stage 2 – $212 HKD; Stage 3 – $188 HKD; Stage 4 – $152. Purchase policy: unlimited purchases from large scale supermarkets
Wyeth milk formula is sweeter and richer than other milk formula products. If your baby prefers formula with a lighter taste, you can always try a formula that is not as heavy. There are two kinds of Wyeth products: either imported or domestic. Wyeth SMA Gold, Promil Gold, and Progress Gold are all imported milk formula products. These are all good products, but have a tendency to cause diarrhea in its infant consumers that are lacking in “qi energy“; because Wyeth products are manufactured via a baking process, this may cause an overbalance in the qi energy of babies. Domestic Wyeth products made in China do not stand up to superior competition, but are still better than some domestic-made milk formula.
Price Reference: Stage 1 – $258 HKD; Stage 2 – $225.5 HKD; Stage 3 – $199 HKD; Stage 4 $162.9 HKD; PE Gold – $201.5 HKD. Purchase policy: unlimited purchases from large scale supermarkets. Condition of supplies: large supermarkets are amply well-stocked
Mead Johnson Nutritionals
The protein lactalbumin found in Mead Johnson milk formula is not as abundant as that found in other milk formula, but still contains a reasonable amount. Consuming Mead Johnson formula may cause an excess of “qi energy” heat imbalance. Mead Johnson products are suitable for infants who have a tendency to be low in “qi energy”, but infants that are comparatively dry and not hydrated should switch to another brand.
Price Reference: Stage 1 – $274.9; Stage 2 – $241.8; Stage 3 – $215 HKD; Stage 4 – $176.7 HKD. Purchase policy: Mannings, Watsons, Park N’ Shop, Wellcome and other large supermarkets have all imposed limits upon the purchase of these products: every shopper is limited to purchasing 3 cans a day.
Meiji is the most sought after milk formula for mainland fathers and mothers. According to friends in the know, 90% of Meiji milk powder is almost identical to human milk; it isn’t likely to cause constipation or an over-balance of “qi energy” and is most suitable for Asian infants to consume. However, neither franchise supermarkets nor franchise drugstores carry this brand. There are two kinds of Meiji milk products: infant milk powder suitable for infants from 0-9 months as well as toddler milk powder for children 9 months to 2 years of age.
Products sold in supermarket chains can be 20% more expensive than chain drugstores with prices costing about 160 to 180 [currency undetermined]; in a large mall, the price can elevate upwards to about 220 [currency undetermined]. The most expensive Meiji milk powder product sold in Hong Kong is as an import brought in through official channels; on front of the can there is a Chinese label pasted on top. If this product is sold at a cheaper price, it is usually because it is a smuggled good and did have have to be affixed with the appropriate taxes and tarrifs; as such, there is no Chinese label on it. 8 cans will be able to feed a baby or toddler for approximately more than 2 months.
Price Reference: Bright Boy – $220 HKD; Big Boy – $182.9 HKD. Purchase policy: unlimited purchases from large scale supermarkets. Condition of supplies: large supermarkets are amply well-stocked. Sales promotion: Buying two cans of Meiji Big Boy milk formula will give a discount of $38 HKD.
[Frequently Asked Questions]
Q: Can you tell the manufacturing country of origin from the bar code? A: No. There is no specific correlation between the bar code on a milk formula product and its place of origin.
According to a person belonging to a department of inspection responsible for milk formula products: “The prefix numerals upon a bar code refer to the country that is is registered in and not necessarily the country it was manufactured in.” Therefore, using a bar code to determine the manufacturing origin for a milk powder product is not exact even if the country of origin for some milk powder products is the same as the registered country. The country of registry simply means that some products have applied for a bar code in a specific country, and does not show the manufacturing country of origin.
As well, according to the “Bar Code Management Procedures for Commercial Goods” regulations for China, it is legal for foreign goods to either use newly affixed Chinese bar codes or to use their own bar codes as implemented in their original country of origin.
[To be concluded in part three]