Food costs rise as supply chain issues persist amid COVID pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you've noticed you're spending more on groceries, you're not alone. The Consumer Price Index shows food prices have been rising during the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

As of February, the average price of fruits and vegetables are up 3.4% compared to 12 months ago. The price of meat, poultry, fish and eggs are up 5.2%.

At Supermercado El Ranchito, a family-run market and restaurant in Brighton Park, manager Sanra Trujillo said just about all her wholesalers are charging more.

Experts say some of the rising costs should ease soon.

"We should see some easing of that as people get vaccinated," said Maciek Nowak, associate dean of Loyola University's Quinlan School of Business.

Nowak studies supply chain, and explained the demands for goods are increasing, but there's a transportation capacity issue that preceded the pandemic.

"We still have trucking companies that don't have the same manpower that they had before the pandemic, and the warehouse ports," he said. "All of these are working at diminished capacity."

Jesse Iniguez, who co-founded Back of the Yards Coffee, said his supplies are more expensive and taking longer, like the cans for their cold brew.

"Typically we ordered them and get them the next week or so, now we are having to order months in advance," he said.

In the meantime he's placed his order and is hoping to get it sometime this summer, while customers still want cold brew coffee.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.