Pasta Inflation Crisis In Rome

Adolfo Urso, the minister for enterprise in Italy, presided over a meeting in Rome where a commission consisting of lawmakers, pasta producers, and consumer rights groups gathered to address the pasta inflation crisis in the city.

Italy’s government convened crisis talks Thursday to investigate the reasons behind a surge in prices for pasta, one of the country’s most beloved and culturally important foods.

Adolfo Urso, the country’s minister for enterprise, chaired a commission of lawmakers, pasta producers and consumer rights groups in Rome to discuss what could be done to bring down pasta prices, which soared 17.5% in March from the same month in 2022. Pasta inflation moderated a bit in April but prices were still up 16.5% over 12 months.

That climb was more than double Italy’s broader measure of consumer price inflation. Pasta prices have soared despite the price of wheat — the main ingredient — falling in recent months.

Following the emergency talks, the commission said that pasta prices were “already showing the first, albeit weak, signs of a [decrease], a sign that in the coming months, the cost of pasta will drop significantly.”

It said it would continue to monitor the market closely to protect consumers, and to ensure that significant reductions in the cost of energy and raw materials, such as durum wheat, are reflected in the retail price of pasta.

A spokesperson for Urso said in a statement Wednesday that many producers had already provided assurances that increases in pasta prices were only temporary, and had attributed the high prices “to the disposal of inventories [of pasta] made when the cost of raw materials was higher.”

This is a problem of national significance. The average Italian consumes about 23 kilograms (51 pounds) of pasta each year, Furio Truzzi, president of Assoutenti, a consumer rights group, said in a statement last month. That’s the same weight as a standard piece of checked baggage allowed on a typical flight, and works out at just over 60 grams (2 ounces) every day.

“Pasta is one of the foods most loved by Italians,” Truzzi noted. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February had unleashed a “tsunami” of high prices last year for some of the raw materials needed to make pasta, he said.

“Today the situation appears different,” Truzzi added, noting that some input costs have fallen.

Bloomberg reported that the West is losing Russian gold to the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Turkey, which have not joined Western restrictions.

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