Baby formula pictured behind the counter in Sainsbury's next to booze

Pictured beside the e-cigarettes and spirits: Baby formula is hidden behind the counter in Sainsbury’s in stark sign of desperation parents face amid cost-of-living crisis

  • Aptamil baby formula pictured behind the counter at Sainsbury’s in west London
  • It comes after reports of security tags being wrapped around baby milk in Tesco
  • The cost-of-living crisis is causing people to shoplift, according to recent survey

Baby formula has been pictured behind the counter at a Sainsbury’s shop painting a bleak picture of families facing the cost-of-living crisis – and shops which have to worry about theft.

Tubs of Aptamil formula are for sale for £14 and £15.50 alongside cigarettes and alcohol, which parents have to ask counter staff for if they want to buy one.

Such precautions are usually reserved for products with age-verification requirements like alcohol or big ticket items like perfume and aftershave.

The formula was spotted at a Sainsbury’s Local in Acton, west London.

While it is understood that this is not a new measure and has been in place for years, one shopper said the image ‘shows how bad things must be for parents… but also how worried the shops are’ as the cost-of-living crisis bites.’

In June an image of formula behind the counter was posted on Twitter, with the uploader writing: ‘This really upsets me. Baby formula behind the counter to prevent people stealing it in local Sainsbury’s. 

‘Formula is expensive. Many food banks turn it away to ‘stop dependency/encourage breastfeeding’. For many families the consequence is devastating.’

Aptamil baby formula has been pictured behind the counter at a Sainsbury’s in Acton alongside alcohol and e-cigarettes

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: ‘This is just one of a range of security measures we have in place for high value items. The products put behind the till will vary from store to store.’

The pictures come just months after security tags were spotted on Aptamil and Cow&Gate baby formula in other Sainsbury’s branches.

There are fears struggling parents are turning to crime to help feed their little ones amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The price of essential goods are rising due to soaring inflation, while families have even less to spend in the shops due to skyrocketing energy bills.

The price of baby milk rose by as much as £1 in 2021, according to figures from The Grocer.

Suppliers said the rise was due to a crunch on prices for storing and transporting, as well as raw materials.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said it is one of a range of security measures in place for ‘high value items’ (Action Sainsbury’s pictured above)

The picture also comes after a July survey found Brits have admitted to stealing almost £500million worth of goods including baby formula, toiletries and food this year.

One in three admitted to shoplifting with 63% of those saying it was due to cost of living.

In July this year, it was reported that other Sainsbury’s branches had put security tags – which the store said are not new – on Aptamil and Cow&Gate baby formula to stop people from stealing.

Security tags operate via a transmitter that sounds out an alert when an item is removed from a shop and are taken off by staff when customers pay at the checkout.

The picture comes just months after it was reported other Sainsbury’s branches had put security tags on baby formula. (Acton Sainsbury’s pictured above)

Tags are normally used to prevent thefts of high-value items such as perfume, aftershave and alcohol.

However, the security tags can also be used sometimes to prevent shoplifters taking regularly swiped items such as cheese, meat and coffee.

Stores in Staplehurst and Maidstone were among those resorting to these measures for baby forumula.

In March, Aptamil’s Organic 1 First Infant Milk from Birth 800g rose from £12 to £13.50, while its advanced formula of the same weight cost £16 when KentOnline reporters visited Maidstone’s Romney Place store in July.

A dad-of-one shopping in Sainsbury’s told the Mirror: ‘I was shocked to see security tags on our baby formula.

‘I thought those sort of things were reserved for big ticket items.

‘It just shows how much the cost of living crisis is biting when items like this are being stolen on a regular basis.’

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said the decision on whether to security tag products differed from store to store. 

Sainsbury’s is not the only store to implement strict measures to prevent the theft of baby formula.

In fact, a picture from September shows a tub of Cow&Gate follow-milk at a Tesco in Surrey with a security tag on it.

Picture from inside a Tesco store in Surrey last month shows Cow&Gate follow-on milk priced £11.35 with a security tag on it

Other items with tags included Strepsils, shaving cream and Bold 2 in 1 washing gel. 

In similar scenes in July, the Manchester Evening news reported three stores in the area which had alarm tags wrapped around all brands of formula.

This included the Tesco Express stores on Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens, and the big Tesco Extra store near Portwood roundabout in Stockport.

They quoted one unnamed shopper as saying: ‘It’s a big baffling really. There is loads of stuff you expect to see tags on and other measures like that but baby milk isn’t really one of them. It’s quite sad when you think about it.’

In May, bottles of whiskey were replaced on shelves at one Tesco store with cardboard cutouts after thieves kept stealing them.

Staff at the supermarket giant branch removed the likes of Jack Daniels and replaced them with little cards in plastic boxes.

Shoppers now must take one of them carrying a photo of the whiskey they wish to purchase to the checkout.

The different variety bottles of JD range from £14 to £45 each.

It was reported that a staff member now stands guard in the booze aisle at the store to watch out for shoplifters.

It is understood that Tesco has security protection on some higher value items, but that this is not a new policy. 

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