Whether it’s a plate of spaghetti with red sauce, basil and parmesan, or an authentic carbonara with egg and pecorino, the price of Italy’s favorite food has skyrocketed, a fact that has raised the alarm in the country’s government.

In more detail, pasta prices rose 17.5% in March and 16.5% in April, according to Istat data.

Notably, the jump is double that of Italy’s consumer price index, which rose 8.1% year-on-year in April and 8.7% in March.

Prices for pasta in restaurants have risen 6.1% year-on-year, Italian consumer rights group Assoutenti told CNBC.

If you consider that according to research by the International Pasta Organization in 2022, the average Italian will consume almost 23 kg of pasta per year, then these increases are proportionally excessive. However why is this?

The increased retail prices are due to producers now selling their pasta stocks, which were made when raw material costs were higher, due to the increase in wheat and energy prices.

In March 2022, the price of wheat peaked at its highest levels in more than a decade due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, since both nations are huge suppliers of agricultural products to the world market.

International wheat prices in April fell 2.3 percent, falling to the lowest level since July 2021, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

But production costs have fallen since then, and higher pasta prices are now due to other factors, according to the consumer rights group.

“Prices are kept high, so they can make more profits. Prices will only fall in the face of a significant drop in consumption,” Assoutenti said, suggesting plans to reduce consumption, with a “pasta strike” of at least 15 days. It should be noted that in 2007, Italians went on a one-day “strike” against the purchase of pasta when prices rose by almost 20%.

Emergency meeting

Two weeks ago, Italy’s Economic Development Minister Adolfo Urso called an emergency meeting to discuss a pasta price hike.

Pasta producers, consumer associations and government officials were among those who attended the meeting, with some calling for a cap on the price of pasta, a proposal that was rejected.

The latest surveys of pasta prices “already show the first, albeit weak, signs of falling prices, which is likely to indicate that in the coming months costs may decrease significantly,” Italy’s business ministry said in a statement.