CHICAGO (CBS) — That dinner you might make in your kitchen Wednesday night is almost certainly pricier than it would have been one year ago – and going out to eat is pricier too.
Experts say companies are struggling to keep up with demand, and production costs are skyrocketing. And now, we’re paying for it.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Frostbite Risk Within 30 Minutes Of Exposure As Wind Chills Drop Below Zero
And as CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported Wednesday, there is no sign of any of this slowing down.
It’s not just food. From Jewel-Osco to the jewelry store, from Home Depot to Office Depot, prices on almost everything are way up.
It is being felt deep in the kitchen of Taqueria Los Comales, at 3141 W. 26th St. in Little Village.
“Nothing ever has been comparable exactly to what we’ve been going through right now,” said Los Comales owner Christina Gonzalez.
There have been price hikes on everything – from the corn that makes tortillas to the tomatoes that anchor salsa, and chicken – which jumped 75 cents a pound just this week.
“Chicken, meats, produce, paper – anything that basically has to be transported by fuel has gone up,” Gonzalez said.
And it’s just beginning.
“We’re going to continue to see prices continue to rise for the next 18 to 24 months,” said Greg Portell of Kearney Consulting.
Demand for raw materials is way up. Production costs are up too, as workers are scarce. And availability of key supply chain elements, has plummeted.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Wind Chill Advisory In Effect Wednesday Morning
Here is a quick example.
“If you’re making toilet paper, the trees in the mill you used to go to may be making products for housing,” Portell said. “All of a sudden, you can’t get your toilet paper anymore.”
Meanwhile, companies fearful of spiking prices last year during peak pandemic have been left needing to make up for lost time.
“Every lens that could have looked at a price increase would have viewed it as opportunistic – even it were justified,” Portell said.
Hit particularly hard, experts say, are items containing pulp or grain and electronics that require a microchip.
So one part supply and demand and another part inflation means this year’s menu adjustments at Los Comales will be steeper.
“Typically, we’ve gone up somewhere between 3 and 6 percent,” Gonzalez said.
This year, it will be between 5 and 10 percent. And next year it could be worse.
“There is nothing we can do about it,” Gonzales said.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Wind Chill Advisory In Effect, Wind Chills Dropping Well Below Zero
With prices skyrocketing, experts expect many of us will switch brand loyalties in this window of time – when things we used to splurge on just get too pricey. This could apply to anything from diapers to coffee to electronics.