Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italians on 'forced diet' due to economic crunch

English
© ANSA

(by Kate Carlisle) Rome, July 24 - Italians have been
on a "forced diet" since 2007, eating less and less due to the
long-running economic crisis, consumer group Codacons said on
Wednesday.
The group was commenting on the latest figures from Italian
statistics agency Istat that show an "uninterrupted decline in
sales in the food industry since 2007".
Italy's retail sales increased in May by 0.1% with respect
to April 2013, but fell year-on-year by 1.1%, the country's
statistics agency Istat said on Wednesday.
May figures for food sales were up slightly, 0.6%, while
non-food goods dropped 0.2% from April.
Any increase in food sales "is just an optical illusion,"
Codacons said.
The Italian table consists of "essential" and absolutely
"low-cost" food, Farmers Confederation CIA said on Wednesday.
In fact, the sales of foodstuffs in the first five months
of 2013 dropped by 1.6%, according to Istat.
Not only have 62% of households reduced food purchases,
but 6.5 million homes shop in discount and low-cost markets to
cut expenses during the long-running crisis.
To offset the drop in retail spending, large supermarket
chains have increased promotions and special offers, up by 9%
since 2008, CIA noted.
Despite offers, Italians have cut beef and veal purchases
by 5% and are eating 3% more chicken - a cheaper alternative.
Fresh fish consumption is also down by 5% and fresh milk
purchases are down by 4%, substituted by the more economical
long-life milk, up 5%.
Alongside reduced spending are unemployment figures, which
reached a record high of 12% in May, that paint a grim picture
in Europe's third-largest economy.
The real problem to solve in order to boost employment in
recession-ravaged Italy ''is the buying power of households and
re-launching demand'', the presidents of leading consumers'
groups Federconsumatori and Abusdef said.
Rosario Trefiletti and Elio Lannutti in particular called
for tax cuts - on controversial housing property tax IMU, VAT
and a regional taxation on labour - ''and the start of Keynesian
policies of investments aimed in particular at innovative
sectors''.
According to the latest data by the national observatory
of Federconsumatori, consumer spending is expected to drop by 50
billion euros, an estimated 2,161 euros per household, in the
2012-2013 period.
In their joint statement, Trafiletti and Lannutti slammed
an ongoing debate on labour reforms, including greater
contractual flexibility, saying the central issue was instead
that ''companies will start hiring again when they will resume
selling goods and services''.

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