Supply chain issues, labor shortages drive up food prices, limits variety as Thanksgiving nears

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Supply chain issues and labor shortages are driving prices up across the country, making the cost of much of the holiday season much higher.

"I had my potato salesman tell me today, he says costs for potatoes and onions from Idaho next week will be up because transportation is three times what it normally is, going up, but that's all over the country," said Russ Lodarek of Big Apple Finer Foods in Lincoln Park.

Lodarek said the cost of doing business is simply more expensive right now, and he's had to do a lot of explaining about why some things are hard to find.

"A customer yesterday wanted small bottles of Diet Coke in a glass. They are not making it these last few weeks, so I think the variety is what's affected the most," he said.

The labor shortage and supply chain disruptions triggered by the pandemic are forcing manufacturers still in business to trim where they can.

"They want to get the product through that's the biggest seller, so they aren't necessarily going to send out 15 different varieties of stuffing because there just isn't the capacity at this point," said Maciak Nowak, interim dean of the Loyola Quinlan School of Business. "The prices on transportation have gone up and those prices are being passed on, in some part, to the consumer."

For those in charge of the grocery list, it's advised you be prepared to make substitutions and dig a little deeper.
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