Watch now: Spike in cooking oil costs felt by Central Illinois businesses | Local Business
“Due to the current novel coronavirus infection outbreak, the edible oil refineries have experienced a downfall in their operating capacity to around 50%,” ResearchandMarkets.com said in December.
“This is mainly attributed to the deficiency of raw materials along with delays in the import clearance. The decrease in the operating capacity is also related to the lockdown measures that resulted in the delayed harvesting of certain oilseeds, for instance, mustard seeds in India.”
As for chicken, the Associated Press last month reported that the shortage comes from a variety of factors, including outbreaks of COVID-19 in meat-processing plants, especially early on in the pandemic, forcing many of them to temporarily close and straining the supply chain.
On top of that, Winter Storm Uri in Texas in February took a bite out of supply when some poultry farms had to temporarily shut down because of the weather.
So far, the managers of both Fat Albert’s and Dr. McKay’s said their operations are refusing to raise prices on their customers despite the increased costs.
Franchise owners like the Miller Group USA, which owns 18 Arby’s locations in Central Illinois, don’t really have a say in the matter, even though they, too, are watching their costs increase dramatically.
“Because we’re a franchise, we kind of have to bite the bullet,” business manager Heidi McPherson told The Pantagraph. “The price of bacon has gone up considerably. (An independent business) would have the option to take bacon or a BLT off the menu, whereas we can’t take our Bacon Beef ‘n Cheddar off the menu.”
McPherson said distributors have blamed all sorts of factors for the rising costs, including fuel issues.
“Prices have more than doubled in the past year or so, and of course our distributors have to pass that down to us,” she said of the situation.
“The prices really across the board are jumping. Not just oil — it seems like everything is more expensive these days. So, just with the inflation, everything is going up, from our wages to our products,” she said.
Donnette Beckett of the Decatur Herald & Review contributed to this report.