NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Look out! From Huggies diapers to Nike shoes, Americans are about to get less bang for their buck on some of the biggest brands.
This week, paper-products maker Kimberly-Clark announced plans to raise prices on diapers and toilet paper later this summer. Nike said it would increase prices on their shoes. And food companies Kraft, Smuckers and Heinz recently announced price hikes on some of their brands.
Huggies diapers and Pull-Ups prices will rise by 3% to 7%, the company said. Cottonelle and Scott 1000 toilet paper will rise about 7%.
The increases come as major brands struggle to keep their profit margins intact, amid surging costs on raw materials. Producer prices rose 1.6% in February alone, the the biggest jump in nearly two years, according to government data released Wednesday.
Now they're starting to cave, mainly on non-discretionary goods, where they still feel they have some pricing power.
The sticker prices on necessities like food and gas, for example, have surged over the last year. Gas prices are 11% higher than a year ago, and food prices are up 2.3%, according to the latest government inflation data.
"We're at the point now, where its harder for companies to avoid raising prices," said Mark Vitner, Wells Fargo senior economist. "Prices are rising the most for the things we buy the most frequently."
Just last month, Heinz (HNZ, Fortune 500) raised its prices on ketchup and Ore-Ida potatoes. Companies can get away with price hikes on food and even diapers and toilet paper, because these products are viewed as household staples.
But now, economists are wondering if rising commodity prices will lead to more broad-based inflation. The Federal Reserve still says that's not an imminent threat to the economy, but some skeptics disagree.
"I have no doubt by the end of this year, inflation will be running at the top of the Fed's comfort zone or slightly above it," Vitner said.
Last week, New York Fed president William Dudley faced guffaws from a raucous crowd, after he explained that overall inflation remains tame, citing iPad prices as an example.
"I can't eat an iPad," an audience member hollered back, according to one report.
But even prices on some discretionary brands are starting to rise, hinting that broad-based inflation could be next.
Nike (NKE, Fortune 500) shoes for example, aren't exactly considered a necessity, but on Thursday, executives said they plan to significantly raise prices on Nike shoes in 2012, to cope with the rising costs of cotton, as well as oil and transportation.
While the cathedral's money declined, America's biggest bank got rich, the lawsuit claims. More
Hershey has forced an importer to stop selling proper British chocolates in the United States, angering fans of Cadbury and Toffee Crisps. More
Target-date funds have become a wildly popular option among those seeking a hands-off approach to retirement investing. But not all of these funds are created equally. More