‘European consumer groups have urged shoppers to stop buying products of large pasta manufacturers such as Barilla, De Cecco, and La Molisana in Italy, and Panzani in France, in response to what they claim are unjustified price hikes, according to a Financial Times report.
EU pasta producers are facing growing pressure to cut prices as Italian consumer unions have called for an investigation in to possible price manipulation, saying that the increases in costs have been “inexplicable.”
While manufacturers in Italy and France claim that the price rises reflect the impact of higher production costs sparked by the conflict in Ukraine, consumer groups insist that “reality is far different” from the companies’ narrative.
Food producers have been accused of profiteering and “greedflation” as the surge in pasta prices has been well above broader inflation rates across Europe even despite a sharp drop in the price of the wheat used to make it, the outlet said.
“Year-on-year price hikes measured on a monthly basis are two times the current rate of inflation,” according to Italian consumer group Codacons.
Another Italian consumer association, Assoutenti, has called for a week-long “pasta strike” starting next week, urging people to shun the product and make it at home themselves.
Although Italian inflation has cooled over the past few months, pasta prices were still 14% higher year-on-year last month, according to official statistics.
“For Italian families it’s a fairly existential crisis,” said Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, as they are the world’s biggest pasta eaters, consuming roughly 23 kilograms per year.
In Britain, pasta price inflation reached 27.6% in April, while the figures were 21.8% in Germany and 21.4% in France, data showed.
Meanwhile, Luigi Cristiano Laurenza, general secretary of trade organization Unione Italian Food Pasta, claimed that pasta makers have been hit with higher energy, logistics and packaging costs in light of the Ukraine crisis.
Despite the decline in grain prices, it will take time for consumer prices to go down as producers are still using up the stocks of wheat they bought at peak costs, according to the CEO of La Molisana, Giuseppe Ferro.
Meanwhile in France, the government has threatened pasta producers with financial penalties. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in May that companies will face a tax levy if they refuse to negotiate lower prices.’