Price shock: Why toilet paper prices are rising

Price shock: Why toilet paper prices are rising

Your weekly store will be more expensive, with a new one estimate from Eurostat indicating that consumer prices rose here by 8.2% during the year to the end of May.

This leads to hundreds of euros more that households have to spend every year just to keep their refrigerators, freezers and cabinets in stock.

But not all price increases are the same, and a myriad of factors affect different products in different ways.

To help you understand what is happening, we have taken a closer look at a selection of everyday foods.

Everyone has seen significant price increases, but everyone has a different story to tell about the causes.

In this paragraph we will look at toilet paper prices.

What happens to the prices of toilet paper?

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Adam Maguire talks about rising toilet paper prices RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne

The size of the change will differ from brand to brand and from store to store, but the prices of toilet paper will rise without a doubt.

Figures from NeilsenIQ say that the prices of toilet paper rose by 15.6% during the year to May – which is far above the general increase in the price of consumer goods.

But what also bothers the water is the fact that toilet paper is regularly one of the things that are on special offers in a store – so you buy a large multipack at a discount instead of buying a small package.

And what happens when retailers start to feel upward price pressure is that they tend to stop putting these products at a discount.

This means that the consumer suddenly has to pay full price – and perhaps a now inflated full price – which makes the increase feel much worse than it actually is.

And unfortunately, like so many things, there will probably be more pain.

Kimberly Clark, the company that makes Andrex and Kleenex, says it will start pushing through a “medium-to-high single-digit percentage increase” – next month. At the same time, Essity, which owns the Cushelle brand, said earlier this year that it will also need to start raising the prices of its products.

What does it depend on?

Companies around the world are trying hard to make their products more durable, and one way they can do that is to reduce the amount of plastic or styrofoam they use in packaging.

And it has caused many to change their packaging to paper and cardboard; it is easier to recycle, it does not absorb harmful chemicals and at the end of its life, unlike plastic, it is biodegradable.

At the same time, the pandemic has also led us to shop more online – which means much greater demand for cartons and packaging for all these goods.

And all this has pushed up the price of pulp, which is the raw material paper and cardboard are made from. It has been rising steadily since around 2017 – but it has really increased in recent months.

The price per tonne jumped from just over USD 600 in September to more than USD 900 last month – an increase of 50% in a very short time.

And the big problem for consumers is that pulp is also used to make household products such as toilet paper – so it has been swept up in this huge, unrelated price increase.

What else is affected by this?

So many products – because unfortunately, economies like ours have become very accustomed to relying on unsustainable ingredients, harmful chemicals and plastics for many of our goods.

This is not just about cheap products either – luxury brands have just as much to do.

As a result, we also see that cosmetics and beauty brands are reformulating products to remove things like microplastics and palm oil – which is good. But they were often there for a reason, not least because they were the cheapest option – so replacing them also costs money.

When it comes to paper prices specifically, everything else like tissue – such as paper towels, nappies, tampons – is affected in the same way.

In other words, everything is paper- or card-based – which means that all packaging on our products costs more to produce.

And there is another, related pressure at stake. It is on the price of firewood, which of course is where the pulp comes from in the first place.

The CSO’s wholesale price index, which tracks what companies pay for goods, shows an increase of almost 38% in the costs of wood and wood products during the year to April.

Some reports say that some price increases were even higher than that.

And when you think about the different things we use wood for – fencing in your garden, furniture, sports equipment – all these things become more expensive as a result.

This is not to mention construction – which means that it pushes up the already high construction costs.


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