It’s a fusilli fiasco and the Italian government is snapping into action.
In March, the price of pasta was up a whopping 17.5 percent compared with a year prior, leading Italy’s business enterprise minister, Adolfo Urso, to convene a crisis group to discuss the rise, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. According to an official at the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy who spoke with the newspaper anonymously, a new commission will examine a number of factors that may be contributing to the price increase.
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Italy’s response shows the “symbolic, emotional, cultural value that pasta has for Italians,” Fabio Parasecoli, a food-studies professor at New York University, told the Post. The government is saying that it’s “interested in the quality of life of the citizens, even if the impact is probably much lower than the impact of the raises in electricity bills.”
Throughout Italy, boxes of pasta run about $2, which is not a very significant dollar amount. But the consumer-rights group Assoutenti, which released a survey on regional pasta prices last month, noted that costs have risen an average of 25 percent from last year. And some cities, such as Modena, have seen pasta prices go up almost 50 percent. In just a dozen provinces could you find a kilogram of pasta for less than $2.20, according to group’s survey.
Producers say that the rise in prices reflects a number of trends in the country, including higher energy costs, inflation, and supply-chain issues. But consumer groups think that these producers are engaging in speculation, and some advocates have even filed an official complaint with the authorities.
Regardless of what the Italian commission finds, Urso said in a statement that the meeting benefits Italians by bringing attention to the pasta-price issue. Some producers have already responded by saying that the price hikes are only temporary, and the CEO of the food company La Molisana said he expects prices to drop by September—just in time for peak pasta season, when a bowl of Bolognese or a slab of lasagna makes for the perfect autumn dinner.
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