(Don’t) Let Them Eat Pasta

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Organizers are trying to set up a one-day pasta strike in Italy to protest the sharp increase in the cost of the staple food of that nation. It seems that the price of spaghetti has jumped by some 30% recently. Why? Well, manufacturers are blaming a wheat shortage caused by farmers switching production to corn and other crops – to produce biofuels.

On the 13 September, there will be no spaghetti, fettucine, farfalle or rigatoni in Italy, as the country goes on its first-ever pasta strike.

Angry Italians are downing their forks in response to a 30 per cent price rise in the nation's favourite food, along with steep rises in the price of coffee, mozzarella, bread, biscuits and schoolbooks.

A second strike over the increase in the price of a cup of coffee in a cafe, from 70 euro cents (50p) to one euro, has also been threatened.

According to Italy's four largest consumer groups, the average household in the Bel Paese will be stung for an extra £700 this year on their shopping.

"Giving up pasta for the day will be a symbolic gesture," said a spokesman for the consumer groups. "Italians should not buy any pasta that day, and try their best not to eat it at home."

Most Italians eat pasta at least once a day, and consume around 54 kilograms over the course of the year. ……

…….The pasta-makers said the reason for the 30 per cent price rise was a shortage of wheat because farmers were switching to produce crops for the biofuel industry. Currently, a half-kilogram (1.1lb) pack of pasta costs around 70 euro cents (50p) in Italy and 70p to £1.10 in the UK.

The consumer groups behind the national pasta-out say that it is just the manufacturers speculating. Then cheerily note that the price of bread – made from wheat – is also rising but see no connection. Er, ok. That makes sense. Not. I've noted on several occasions that biofuels are causing severe upward pressure on food prices – and will continue to do so. It will get much worse very soon.

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5 Responses to (Don’t) Let Them Eat Pasta

  1. lynndh says:

    When we visited France this past April all we saw was field after field after field of Rape Seed (Canola). It was for the biodiesel market. No food growing in the fields. Of course prices will increase, as they are in the US and Mexico.

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  4. feeblemind says:

    Every $1/bu increase in price of wheat adds less than 2 cents to a pound of pasta or bread. Suspect the increases in pasta prices are caused far more by rising oil prices for processing and transportation than wheat price.

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