HOCK LENG: With regards to Has the Health Ministry’s Lax Governance Contributed to Sky-High Milk Formula Prices, I think it’s unfair to put the responsibility of high milk powder prices on the MOH’s lack of governance, or the marketing practices of private companies.
I believe it is Singaporeans who have driven up the price of milk powder because of their kiasu nature and they have only themselves to blame that prices have gone up by so much over the years.
According to the Competition Commission, 95 percent of people who bought milk powder here chose to buy premium brands. No one put a gun to their heads and forced them to pay for the more expensive milk powder. They were swayed by savvy marketing into thinking their children would get a “head start” if they consumed such branded milk powder and so they willingly paid for it. In the end, they end up jacking up the prices for the whole market.
The worst part is, all these kiasu parents don’t even know what they are paying so much money for. They only know that more expensive means better. The CCS says this about such parents:
“Insufficient understanding of the nutritional content of formula milk and the dietary requirements of infants and young children have often led parents to perceive that the more expensive or premium products are of higher quality.”
Milk powder prices can range from S$20 to S$80 a tin according to the CCS report, so why must parents buy the most expensive milk powder instead of the cheaper ones? This is kiasu-ism plain and simple. It is only common sense that you raise prices if you know people are willing and able to pay more money for your product. If you are doing business, do you dare say you won’t do the same thing?
In the end, all milk powder serve the same purpose, which is to keep your baby full and healthy. If parents are ignorant and foolish with your money, then they have only themselves to blame. If you need the government to teach you how to choose milk powder then you really shouldn’t be a parent.