Milk Prices: What alternatives do Singaporean parents have?

With the recent hype surrounding soaring infant milk powder prices in Singapore, parents have had an increasing headache as to how to provide for their children without burning holes in their wallets.  CupoNation, a leading online savings platform present in 19 countries around the world,  decided to help out Singaporean parents save every penny all the while still providing quality milk formula by conducting an analysis of milk powder prices in both Singapore and Malaysia in order to find a money savvy alternative.

Here are findings by CupoNation:

● Purchasing specialty milk formula is the most expensive with an average annual cost of S $2800 compared to premium and non premium milk formula.
● Premium milk formula in Singapore is twice the price of premium milk formula in Malaysia.

Stretch the Singapore dollar by opting for non premium milk

According to the data analysis conducted by CupoNation, it is 213% more expensive to purchase Stage 1 specialty formula in comparison to non premium formula. Precisely specialty formula can cost up to an average annual cost of S $2800. Premium formula can cost up to an average of S $2,400 and non premium formula costs less than half with an annual expenditure of S $900.

Clearly it would be cheaper to opt for non premium milk powder but won’t parents be missing out on the enhanced ingredients of premium and specialty formulas? Not so, as these milk formula brands tend to over advertise nutrients which are not so crucial for infants’ growth. Furthermore premium milk formula brands tend to have the hospital stamp of approval which further encourages parents into purchasing.

Blame it on eye level shelf placement

Consumers are most likely to purchase the first item they can spot. Hence the product placement in Singaporean supermarkets be it offline or online tend to favour specialty and premium brands. It is apparent how specialty and premium brands take up more shelf space compared to non premium brands. In fact, only 38% of milk formula producers such as Dumex, Nestle and Australia’s Own produce provides a cheaper, non premium alternative to milk powder in Singapore.

Is it still cheaper for Singaporeans to buy milk formula in Malaysia?

Generally, crossing the border to purchase specialty formula in Malaysia would be 71% cheaper. After all, in many cases, the formula in Malaysia is actually imported from Singapore, and there are just some taste alterations to adapt it to the market. However, after considering additional transportation costs incurred from Singapore to Malaysia it would be a wiser option to stick to non premium milk powder formula in Singapore than to make the trip all the way for specialty and premium ones in Malaysia.

About the study

Numbers stated in the press release have been rounded up. Milk formula price data in Singapore was collected from Abbott Singapore official site and Friesland Campina Singapore official site as well as online retailers such as Fairprice Online, Cold Storage, Giant, and Redmart and also offline stores (NTUC) as of 16th June 2017.

Milk formula price data in Malaysia was collected from Friesland Campina Malaysia official site as well as online retailers such as Sam’s Groceria, Jaya Grocer, Tesco, and Lazada as of 22nd June 2017. Data collection about milk formula brands and producers in Singapore were collected from the Singapore Commission Competition Report official site (, official Singapore sites for Abbott and Friesland Campina, as well as online retailers.

Data collection about milk formula brands and producers in Malaysia were collected from online retailers. Annual cost estimation was calculated by multiplying the average price of each stage of milk formula by the average number of milk formula tins purchased in a month (3.5) and the number of months in a year. Milk formula price data in Malaysia were converted to Singapore Dollar as of the conversion rate for 19th June 2017.

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