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Italy Confronts Crisis Talks and Demands Strike as Pasta Costs Skyrocket

Pasta prices have surged, prompting crisis meetings in Italy and calls for a strike

Pasta prices have surged, prompting crisis meetings in Italy and calls for a strike

Italy has been hit by a pasta crisis as the price of the beloved staple continues to soar, leading the Italian government to hold crisis meetings to discuss the issue. According to Italy’s Ministry of Business, pasta prices rose by 17.5% in March and 16.5% in April, citing Istat data. This jump is double that of Italy’s consumer price index figures, which climbed 8.1% YoY for April and 8.7% for March, according to Refinitiv data. Pasta dishes in restaurants have risen 6.1% YoY across the board, according to Italy’s consumer rights group Assoutenti. 

Higher pasta prices are owed to producers selling their pasta stocks, which were made when the raw material costs were higher. “This is due to the disposal of stocks produced with higher costs of raw materials,” said Furio Truzzi, President of Assoutenti. However, Truzzi noted that input costs have since dropped, and higher pasta prices are now driven by other factors, such as maintaining high prices for greater profits. As a result, pasta prices will fall only with a significant drop in consumption. In 2007, Italians staged a one-day strike against buying pasta when prices rose by almost 20%.

Wheat prices rose to their highest levels in more than a decade in March 2022 as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine advanced. Both nations are huge suppliers of agricultural products to the global market. However, international wheat prices dropped by 2.3% in April to their lowest level since July 2021, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization. The prices of durum wheat, often used in pasta, have also been declining in recent months. 

Two weeks ago, Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Adolfo Urso convened an emergency meeting to discuss the pasta price hike. Pasta producers, consumer associations and government officials attended the meeting. Some figures called for a pasta price cap, which was later rejected. The latest surveys of pasta prices “are already showing the first, albeit weak, signs of a drop in prices, a sign that in the coming months the cost could drop significantly,” said a note from Italy’s ministry of business.

FAQs:

Why are pasta prices rising in Italy?

The rise in pasta prices is due to producers selling their pasta stocks, which were made when the raw material costs were higher. However, maintaining high prices for greater profits has been a driving factor in keeping them high.

What is causing wheat prices to rise?

Wheat prices rose to their highest levels in over a decade in March 2022 as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both nations are major suppliers of agricultural products to the global market. However, international wheat prices have since been declining in recent months.

Has the Italian government taken any action to address the rising pasta prices?

Italy’s Minister of Economic Development, Adolfo Urso, convened an emergency meeting to discuss the pasta price hike. Pasta producers, consumer associations and government officials attended the meeting. Some figures called for a pasta price cap, which was later rejected. The latest surveys of pasta prices “are already showing the first, albeit weak, signs of a drop in prices, a sign that in the coming months the cost could drop significantly,” said a note from Italy’s ministry of business.

Pasta prices have surged, prompting crisis meetings in Italy and calls for a strike
Pasta prices have surged, prompting crisis meetings in Italy and calls for a strike

Italy Holds Crisis Meetings and Urges for Strike as Pasta Prices Soar

Italy is currently experiencing a worrying surge in the price of pasta, one of the country’s staples, prompting an emergency meeting by the government. In March and April, the price of pasta increased by 17.5% and 16.5%, respectively, according to official data. This is double the figures of Italy’s consumer price index, which rose by 8.1% and 8.7% in March and April, respectively. Pasta dishes at restaurants increased by an average of 6.1% year-on-year, according to Italy’s consumer rights group, Assoutenti. The pasta’s elevated retail prices are due to producers selling their stocks made when raw material costs were high, particularly wheat and energy.

The high prices are being maintained to achieve greater profits, according to Assoutenti’s President Furio Truzzi. Prices will only fall with a significant drop in consumption, he added. A plan to reduce pasta consumption, involving a “pasta strike” of at least 15 days, has been proposed with the hopes of lowering prices. In 2007, Italians staged a one-day strike against the purchase of pasta when prices rose by nearly 20%.

Although input prices have since dropped, Wheat prices have been high since March, when Russia invaded Ukraine. However, the prices of durum wheat, which is typically used in pasta production, have been decreasing in recent months. According to the World Bank, wheat prices are expected to drop by 17.4% in 2023 compared to 2022. Nevertheless, there are many country-specific factors that may explain the increases in pasta prices in Italy.

Italy’s Minister of Economic Development, Adolfo Urso, recently convened an emergency meeting concerning the increase in pasta prices. In attendance were pasta producers, consumer associations, and government officials, with some of them calling for a price cap, which was rejected. The latest surveys on pasta prices suggest a potential reduction in the coming months, although the price of pasta production has increased by 8.4% in one year, with higher prices of packaging and logistics contributing to the high prices. The Unione Italiana Food, a group representing the country’s food producers, hopes that the meeting would result in understanding that pasta is the solution, not the problem.

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