US faces new crisis after baby formula shortage — Analysis

One of the main causes of the national tampons shortage is a too-successful advertising campaign

TIME Magazine has revealed that America is suffering a shortage of tampons. This was due to a highly successful advertisement campaign.

In 2020, popular comedian and actress Amy Schumer was hired by Procter & Gamble as a ‘face of Tampax’ – the most popular tampon brand in the US. In the ad campaign, Schumer played the role of a helpful tampon supplier who appeared in toilets and ‘saved’ women from getting into trouble by supplying them with Tampax.

Since then, “Retail sales have seen a dramatic increase.” the company’s spokeswoman Cheri McMaster told TIME. Tampax demand has increased by 7.7% over two years. This led to the company operating its Auburn, Maine plant 24/7.

However, as research conducted by TIME’s Alana Semuels revealed, the successful advertising campaign has not been the only cause of tampon shortages which have been well documented by social media users: Twitter, Reddit and other social media are flooded with photos of empty shelves where some of the most-needed hygienic products were supposed to be.

“This isn’t as bad as toilet paper shortages in Spring 2020, but it’s not great,”Dana Marlowe is the founder and CEO of I Support the Girls, a charity that provides bras to homeless women as well as menstrual hygiene aid.

The first sign of a shortage was during the Covid pandemic, when many people began stocking up on basic necessities. TIME reports that a shortage of raw materials later on exacerbated the problem. Raw cotton and rayon were also in demand as there was a growing demand for medical supplies and face covers. Tampon manufacturers are having difficulty finding these materials. Further aggravation was caused by the fact that cotton prices were on the rise (in April, 71% more than the previous year).

New York declares state of emergency

The cost of shipping products to the US has risen due to rising transportation costs. ThymeSullivan, the CEO of The Organic Project said that it is more costly to ship its tampons in the US than the last year.

Manufacturers are facing staff shortages due to the increasing demand for their products. Because tampons can be used as medical devices they must comply with strict regulations. “companies can’t put just anybody on the assembly line, so production lagged demand,” the author of the research explained.

Increased demand, staffing shortages, raw material shortages – none of these factors are unique to tampons. The reason the tampon shortage has become so severe and persistent is because, unlike many other goods that are difficult to find, women cannot stop purchasing tampons until the supplies come back.” TIME explains.

The US does not have a shortage of Tampons. New York officials declared a state emergency last month due to a lack of baby formula. This vitally important product became unavailable after the March shutdown at Abbott Laboratories in Michigan. There were concerns about contamination. After four infants who were fed formula from the facility developed a rare bacteria infection, the US facility, which represents 40% of US formula sales, recall some products and close down the manufacturing plant. Two of their babies later died.

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