MILAN. The record heat and the threat of new increases in wheat prices, after a period of decline, are a double tile on household budgets. The heat wave that has hit our country has led to an increase in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables of about 20%. Ice cream and popsicles recorded a growth in purchases of +15%, while sales of bottled water surged by +25%. Consumption is up but so are rates. Consumer associations sound the alarm on prices: «This year, preparing fresh dishes or typical summer dishes such as the classic “rice salad”, but also thirst-quenching aperitifs such as the timeless “spritz”, will be significantly more expensive – warns Codacons – This is because rice costs 32% more today than last year, tomatoes 12.8% more, while roots, bulbs, mushrooms and other vegetables (fennel, carrots, onions, garlic, asparagus gi, artichokes) underwent average increases of 23.6%; potatoes are even more expensive by 26.9%, and to dress a dish with olive oil it is necessary to take into account a higher cost of 26.7%».
An average of 17.8% more is spent on fresh vegetables, with peaks of +22% for cabbages. Fresh fruit is also bad: the increases are on average 8.3% with peaks of 16% for oranges and 15.2% for soft fruits (grapes, kiwis, blackberries, blueberries, etc.).
Things are worse for ice creams, which increase by 18.9% on an annual basis, while an average of 13.2% more is spent on beer (+15.8% for non-alcoholic ones).
Carbonated drinks increased by 19.5%, fruit juices by 15.8% and alcoholic aperitifs (+10%) and mineral water (+11.9%) were also more expensive.
Added to these increases are the prices of wheat, pasta and bread. «Russia's halt to the UN agreement for Ukraine's food exports, the raids that destroyed 60,000 tons of wheat and the collapse of production by up to -60% due to the effects of the climate, risk triggering a tsunami that will spill directly into the pockets of families - explains the president Furio Truzzi - A group of 4 people spends an average of 1,320 euros a year in Italy on bread and cereals (pasta, rice, biscuits, crackers, and various derivatives): an increase retail prices of 10% for products derived from wheat would lead to a higher expenditure of +132 euros per year per family only for direct costs. For example, the price of pasta, currently around 2.09 euros per kg, would rise to a national average of 2.29 euros. The price of bread, on the other hand, which today is around 3.9 euros per kg, would reach an average of 4.3 euros per kg».
«An increase that would occur precisely when pasta prices, after months of constant rise, have started a downward trend, thus reversing the virtuous course to the detriment of consumers who, we recall, consume 23 kg of pasta per capita every year» concludes Truzzi.