Whatever you do, don’t mess with Italians’ pasta.
Pasta prices in Bel Paese — that’s “beautiful country” to us non-Italians — are soaring, much to the chagrin of carb-loving Italians.
Pasta costs rose by 17.5% in March and 16.5% in April. That’s more than double Italy’s roughly 8% inflation rate.
The reason is simple: Much of the pasta now making its way to store shelves (and imported here to the U.S.) was manufactured during the pandemic, when commodity costs were higher.
As a result, retail costs now reflect the higher production expenses.
Even so, that’s not sitting well with Italians.
“High prices are maintained in order to have greater profits,” an Italian consumer group called Assoutent told CNBC.
The group is seeking a “pasta strike” by consumers lasting at least 15 days to reduce demand and force retailers to lower costs.
The situation is so dire that the Italian government convened an “emergency meeting” to discuss the pasta crisis. Pasta makers, government officials and consumer advocates attended.
Some at the meeting called for price caps to prevent pasta price gouging.
The outrage among Italians is reminiscent of anger among Americans as gas prices skyrocketed. Cars are to this country what carbonara is to Italians.
In any case, Italian food producers say pasta costs are gradually easing as pandemic-era inventory is consumed.
As one industry group put it: “Pasta is the solution, not the problem.”