By Gage Jackson
Inflation is hot on a global level, and the proof is in the pot. Italy’s government held an emergency crisis meeting Thursday in Rome to discuss the unprecedented price of pasta, a beloved staple of cuisine in the country.
Italy’s minister of economic development chaired a new committee of lawmakers, consumer rights groups and pasta makers to investigate the reasons behind the recent price hikes.
The meeting comes after pasta prices soared 17.5% in March compared to the same time last year, despite the fact that the price of wheat — the main ingredient in pasta — has fallen 30% since last year. This confounding data has led consumer rights groups like Assoutenti to file an official complaint, accusing pasta producers of price gouging and urging authorities to investigate.
“This product has undergone very strong price increases in the last year, which do not seem justified by the prices of wheat,” Truzzi said in a statement. “Pasta is one of the goods most loved by Italians … and it is evident that such high price lists affect consumers’ pockets.”
He added that there is no justification for the price hike and that producers are hurting average Italians, who consume about 50 pounds of pasta per person each year.
However, producers say there are many various factors behind the price hike, including higher energy costs and supply chain disruptions. Additionally, officials expect Euro area annual inflation to tick up to 7% in April, according to early estimates from the statistical office of the European Union.
While the driving factor behind the past price increase remains up for debate, this isn’t the first time Italians have gotten agitated over the country’s main delicacy. In 2009, an Italian antitrust agency fined 26 pasta makers more than $18 million over price-fixing allegations.