As the country’s economy reels from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 lockdown, consumers are starting to notice an increase in prices among consumer goods, such as diapers and other everyday items.
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.
Kimberly-Clark announced price hikes for its products like Huggies diapers and Scott toilet paper would begin next month.
“Nearly all of the increases will be effective in late June and impact the company’s baby and child care, adult care and Scott bathroom tissue businesses,” the company said in a news release.
Proctor & Gamble also announced in April its prices would increase in September in three categories — baby care, feminine and adult incontinence — due to the rising raw material costs needed to produce the products.
The company didn’t say exactly how much the products will cost but said new prices will vary by brands such as Pampers, Luvs, Always and Tampax. However, the final store shelf price is at the sole discretion of the retailer.
“We continually strive to find the right balance between ensuring superior value for our consumers and operating our business sustainably for the long term,” P&G said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. “Innovation and serving our consumers is at the heart of what we do.”
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According to FOX Business, P&G said organic sales grew 4% in the first quarter of 2021, making the company’s slowest overall organic sales increase since 2018. It came after the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic created high demand for products such as cleaning supplies, paper towels and toilet paper.
“It’s a different situation, as everywhere in the world countries are in very different places as far as coming out of the pandemic,” operating chief Jon Moeller said in an interview with the outlet. “There is very strong consumption across the board.”
FOX Business also reported several food makers have raised prices. Hormel Foods Corp. said in February that it raised prices on its turkey products, such as Jennie-O ground turkey, in response to higher grain costs. J.M. Smucker Co. said it recently raised prices for its Jif peanut butter and that it might do the same with pet snacks because of higher shipping costs and other inflationary pressure.
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Soda giant Coca-Cola has said it also expects to raise prices to fight higher costs.
The Labor Department said that its consumer-price index jumped 4.2% from April 2020 to April 2021. The price index measures what consumers pay for everyday items. The 4.2 % increase in April is the largest increase over a 12-month period since 2008. Some of the increases have been anticipated by Wall Street as the economy improves and inflation increases with it.
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.