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Consumers soon to boil over higher pasta prices

November 7, 2014

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There is word from Italy that may send tempers bubbling among foodies. Reuters reports that Italy’s durum crop – the type of wheat used for pasta – was the smallest in 13 years. As a result, pasta makers face the highest costs in four years for the prized wheat variety, which is milled into the semolina flour to make pasta noodles.

The higher durum prices are likely to be passed on to consumers.

“The risk is that we can expect additional price increases (of durum wheat),” Luciano Vagli, export manager with leading Italian pasta maker Buitoni, told Reuters.

“All of the producers cannot sustain this high level of (raw material) prices, and so we may have to ask retailers for higher prices,” he said. “The situation is really volatile.”

It’s interesting to see who eats the most pasta per year. According to the EU Pasta Manufacturers Association (known as UNAFPA):

  • Italian consumers eat an average 25.3 kilograms (55.8 lbs) of pasta per year
  • Americans dine on an average  with 8.8 kg (19.4 lbs) per year 
  • The French eat 8.1 kg (17.9 lbs) annually
  • British diners consume 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) a year
  • Japanese eat only 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs) each year

So, if there’s a particular brand of Italian pasta that you like, it might be best to stock up before the price hikes hit. It would be a shame if the increases put an end to romance.

STORY IDEAS

The EU pasta manufacturers association

The National Pasta Association

Author

  • Micheline Maynard

    Micheline is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post concentrating on business and culture. She has written about flooding in Detroit, tainted water in Benton Harbor, nationwide shortages of restaurant staff, and vaccine hesitancy.

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