Baby Formula Market Up for Antitrust Review

Regulators at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry plan to examine how level of competition in baby formula sector.

It's not just dairy products on the agenda - regulators at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry are planning to examine whether there's enough competition in the baby formula sector, sources said over the weekend.

The review will include nondairy baby formulas, and it may involve collaboration with the Israel Antitrust Authority.

Currently, two companies control Israel's baby formula market - Materna and Similac. A third player, Remedia, collapsed several years ago after faulty formula caused the deaths of several infants.

Meanwhile, generic drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals is expected to announce this week that it will be entering the market by the end of the year, through a partnership with the global baby formula company Nutricia.

Israel's baby food market is worth an estimated NIS 500 million a year.

Materna, which is distributed by Osem and Kibbutz Maabarot, has a 58% share; Similac, produced by the U.S. company Abbot Laboratories and distributed locally by Neopharm, has 40%.

A third company, Medici Medical, holds 2% through its Optimal brand.

Before Remedia collapsed, it had held a 30% market share.