The Journal Gazette
Friday, April 30, 2021 1:00 am

Rising material, shipping costs likely to hit consumers

DAMIAN J. TROISE | Associated Press

Toilet paper, baby-care products, soft drinks and many other everyday products are about to get more expensive.

Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Coca-Cola have all warned they'll raise prices on many of their products as raw material costs rise. Plastic, paper, sugar, grain and other commodities are all getting more expensive as demand outpaces supply. Companies are also paying more for shipping as fuel costs rise and ports experience longer delays because of congestion.

The potential hit to consumers' wallets comes as the economy returns to some semblance of normalcy. Vaccine distribution continues at a steady pace, promising to put the worst of the pandemic and business shutdowns in the past. States have been loosening restrictions and businesses are reopening to a lot of pent-up demand from people who have been staying cautiously close to home during the pandemic.

But that improving economy and demand is straining distribution channels for raw materials and other goods.

Prices for many consumer goods, such as toilet paper, ticked up modestly during the last few months, according to data from NielsenIQ. Pressure is building, though, as costs increase for companies, and many have signaled that the price increases are coming later this year and likely into 2022 to offset the effect.

Cheerios maker General Mills is considering raising prices on its products as things such as grain, sugar and other ingredients become more expensive. Hormel Foods has already increased prices for Skippy peanut butter and its turkey products. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Kleenex tissues and Scott toilet paper, said price increases will cover about 60% of its product portfolio, and expects the increases and more productivity to offset most of the higher raw-material costs.

Soda giant Coca-Cola has said it expects to raise prices to fight higher costs, while Procter & Gamble is raising prices for baby-care, feminine-care and adult-care products.

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