(Adds data on in-stock rates for formula, updates dateline)
NEW YORK/LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) - French consumer goods
company Danone's North America unit said on Wednesday
it had shipped more than 750,000 cans of its flagship Aptamil
baby formula to the United States from Europe as a nationwide
shortage persists, with another 550,000 cans on the way.
While Aptamil is little known in the United States, it is a
major brand in Europe, where Danone is a dominant force in the
market. The move to introduce Aptamil to American parents could
give Danone, a relatively small U.S. player, the opportunity to
grab market share from leaders Reckitt Benckiser and
The additional 550,000 Aptamil cans that are en route from
New Zealand will likely be available in August, while the
initial shipments are already on shelves and online at Walgreens
, Safeway and some other stores.
Danone also said it had imported more than 500,000 cans of
Neocate, a specialized medical baby formula.
Abbott recalled dozens of brands of baby formula in
February, sparking one of the biggest food shortages in recent
American history. Since then, the U.S. government and Food and
Drug Administration have made it easier for manufacturers to get
shipments into the country, and appealed to companies such as
Nestle and Reckitt to step up production.
In-stock rates of infant formula remain far below normal
levels, at about 70% for the week ended July 24, according to
data from research firm IRI. In-stock rates have remained around
70% since the end of June, according to IRI.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu and Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Mark
Potter and Bill Berkrot)