Pasta prices have soared, sparking a crisis in Italy and calls for a strike


A plate of spaghetti pasta with carbonara sauce in Italy.

Nico Tondini | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Whether it’s a plate of spaghetti aglio e olio or penne arrabbiata, the price of Italy’s beloved staple is rising – enough to warrant a crisis meeting at the heart of the Italian government.

Pasta prices rose 17.5% in March and 16.5% in April, According to Italy’s trade ministry, which cited Istat data, The jump is more than double that of Italy’s consumer price index, which climbed 8.1% for April and 8.7% for March, according to Refinitiv data.

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Italy’s consumer rights group Assoutenti told CNBC that pasta dishes at restaurants have increased 6.1% year-over-year. According to a 2022 survey by the International Pasta Organization, an average Italian consumes about 23 kg of pasta per year.

The increased retail prices are due to the fact that manufacturers are now selling their pasta stocks that were made when raw material costs were higher.

“This is due to the disposal of stocks produced with higher raw material costs,” said Furio Truzzi, president of Assotenti, citing higher wheat and energy prices.

in March 2022The price of wheat rose to its highest level in more than a decade as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine progresses. Both countries are major suppliers of agricultural products to the global market.

However, Truzzi said input costs have declined since that time, and higher pasta prices are now driven by other factors.

Proposing a plan to reduce pasta consumption with a “pasta strike” of at least 15 days, the assistant said, “High prices are maintained in order to make more profits.” will decline.” in 2007, Italians staged a one-day strike Prices rose by about 20% when against buying pasta.

International wheat prices fell 2.3% in April to their lowest level since July 2021 Food and Agriculture Organization,

“Wheat prices are falling from their historic highs following the invasion of Ukraine, but remain high,” World Bank foreign affairs officer Nandita Roy told CNBC via e-mail. He said that the World Bank has projected a 17.4% drop in wheat prices in 2023 as compared to 2022.

Durum wheat prices, a variety of wheat commonly used in pasta, There has also been a decline in recent months, “However, there are several country-specific factors that would explain the increase in pasta prices in Italy,” Roy said.

emergency pasta meeting

Two weeks ago, Adolfo Urso, Italy’s Minister of Economic Development called an emergency meeting Discussion on hike in pasta prices.

Pasta producers, consumer associations and government officials attended the meeting – with some figures calling for a pasta price cap to put a lid on rising prices, a proposal that has since been rejected.

A combine harvester rolls through a durum wheat field during summer harvest in Viterbo, Italy, Friday, July 25, 2014.

Alessia Pierdomnico | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The latest survey of pasta prices “already weak, though showing signs of falling prices, is a sign that costs may fall significantly in the coming months,” A Comment Italy’s trade ministry said.

“Pasta production on the shelves today was made months ago with durum wheat purchased at quotations [an] “Even in an earlier period, with energy costs of wartime peaks,” Union Italiana Food, a body representing Italy’s food producers, said in a statement. statement.

The statement said that the price of pasta production increased by 8.4% in one year, which is “comparable to the average inflation index recorded for consumer goods.”

“Costs have come down, it is true, but they have not returned to previous levels and are still significantly higher than those recorded in 2020/2021,” the organization said. “We would like to leave this day with the understanding that pasta is the solution, not the problem.”

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