First, read my affiliate disclosure.
As you may have seen in our updated Safe Infant Formula Guide, I recently recommended Lebenswert as the healthiest infant formula on the market. Unfortunately, it’s become harder and harder for American parents to find European formulas as they are no longer available on Amazon.
Some parents have resorted to buying European formula on eBay, but many of you feel uneasy purchasing something so important from unverified sellers. This is why I decided to create a screening process to help me find trustworthy online vendors where my readers could confidently buy European baby formulas.
This post will help you figure out where to buy Holle and HiPP and Lebenswert, as well as other European brands of formula.
Bottom Line on Where to Buy European Formula
I’ve approved and established an affiliate relationship with the following vendors.
If it were my baby, I would purchase his or her formula from Organic Start’s special wholesale site, which offers deep discounts on bulk orders.
Why I Love Organic Start for European Formula
Here are the reasons that I consider Organic Start the Best Stuff:
1) Organic Start’s founder, Peter, is a health-minded father of triplets. As infants, his children didn’t respond well to the many formulas that he and his wife tried; the babies were chronically fussy and agitated. Everything changed for the better when they found HiPP and Holle formula. Organic Munchkin grew out of their mission to get the best formula to the U.S. to feed their own babies.
2) Peter is from a family of importers, so he’s able to effectively source large quantities of formula directly from Europe. He sent me documentation to verify the supply chain.
3) Organic Start carries our top picks for the best European formulas –Holle, Lebenswert, and HiPP– and ships six days a week. They maintain enough supply to fulfill hundreds of orders a day.
4) Organic Start is based in Astoria, New York. If you contact them, you’ll get a response quickly and from someone whose first language is English rather than German, French, or Mandarin (as was the case with some of the other company reps I talked with.)
Please note that Gimme the Good Stuff is not responsible for the quality of either the formula itself or the experience of ordering from Organic Start, Little World Organics, and BabyKind Market. I am simply saying that based on my research, if I were buying a European formula for my own child, I would feel comfortable getting it from these three vendors.
My Vetting Process for European Formula Vendors
I started on Holle’s website, and contacted the retailers they listed to see if any of them would ship to the U.S. The answer was no.
I then looked into a variety of websites that were mentioned on blogs and parenting forums as places moms were buying European formula–some of these had good reviews and others had failed to deliver the formula parents ordered. One mom told me that she drove by the address listed on one of the websites and found a boarded-up building in a bad L.A. neighborhood!
I narrowed my list down to the websites that seemed not sketchy (based on my online research), and scheduled phone calls with the owners of these sites.
Why Most of Them Didn’t Make the Cut
While I cannot say that any of these companies seemed outright dishonest–or that I truly believe anyone is taking empty Holle formula containers and filling them with Similac–I didn’t feel completely reassured by my conversations with most of these vendors.
Perhaps some of this was a language barrier (plus time-zone issues–one guy in Germany was nice enough to speak with me at midnight his time!), but in many cases I just couldn’t seem to get a clear answer on the supply chain.
I really wanted to know exactly where this formula was coming from, and how these vendors were getting it to their customers in the U.S.
Another thing I didn’t like about many of these sites is that they didn’t seem to know anything about why these formulas were superior, and in many cases they would ask that I recommend a bunch of other European products they wanted to sell to U.S. parents–most of which of course were not Good Stuff!
I like entrepreneurs who are driven by something other than an opportunity to capitalize on worried/conscientious/neurotic moms (I, of course, belong to both of these groups as a mission-driven entrepreneur and a neurotic mom).
I found such a person in Lacey of Little World Organics–which is why she was the very first formula vendor I partnered with.
Where to Buy Holle and HiPP: Why I Like Little World Organics
- The founder of LWO, Lacey, is a mom, and the business was born out of a desire on her part when she couldn’t breastfeed and set out to find the very safest infant formula for her son, Jack.
- Lacey buys HiPP and Holle formula in large quantities from European retailers–her supply chain was straightforward, and she was happy to show me receipts from the companies she works with.
- All of the feedback from her customers is overwhelmingly positive. She ships orders quickly, and she seems to almost never run out of stock.
- Because LWO is based here in the U.S., it’s easier to communicate with them. Should you have a problem with your order, you’ll get a response quickly and from someone whose first language is English rather than German, French, or Mandarin (as was the case with some of the other company reps I talked with.)
A Note on X-Rays
A lot of you wonder if you should be concerned about formula being x-rayed when it comes through customs (as is the case for any imported food or food ingredient). What I have read suggests that this is not a risk, and this article may be particularly reassuring to those of you who are concerned.