Unfortunately, the strong economic impact caused first by the pandemic, and for some months now also by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, on the daily life of families is no longer a novelty. The increase in the cost of energy drives inflation with strong consequences in numerous product sectors. As regards the prices of food products, the data is confirmed by Istat: the sector consisting of food, personal care and home care products recorded an increase of 6.7%. And it is precisely foodstuffs that push the accelerator: according to Istat they rose by 7.1% on an annual basis. For this reason, during the month of May, Altroconsumo carried out a survey, analyzing the shelf prices of 10 types of food products. Through the price survey provided by Iri, the organization monitored the prices – practiced by hypermarkets, supermarkets and discount stores – of 8 categories of food products (sunflower oil, 00 flour, pasta, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, coffee, milk and tomato sauce) and 2 products from the fruit and vegetable sector (courgettes and bananas), comparing them with those of the previous month and year. The data collected show that in the last month there has been a setback in the increase in the price of the products analyzed, but that in some cases they are paid twice as much as a year ago. Given the increases in recent months, Altroconsumo has already asked the Antitrust to shed light on any speculation on food prices. In the meantime, the Government is asked to monitor the increase in prices, and above all to extend and make the so-called “shopping vouchers” accessible to more people, an existing measure, but currently limited only to families with Isee up to 12,000 euros. Also for the month of May, it emerges that one of the products to suffer the most from the consequences of inflation is sunflower oil, whose retail price – in Iper, Super and Discount – had already risen in recent months. These are increases that began well before the conflict, and which have continued month after month throughout 2021. Since the beginning of the conflict, prices have continued to increase at a rapid pace: in just one month between March 2022 and April 2022 l increase was 36%. In the last monitored period, in May 2022, the increase was less substantial but still significant, equal to + 6%. The month of January 2022 was also taken as a reference to highlight the increases following the conflict (and previous ones): between January 2022 and May 2022 the increase in the average price of this product was 70%. (in four months). In any case, between May 2021 and January 2022 (in eight months) the increase was significant, although decidedly more contained: + 14%. Finally, between January 2021 and January 2022, and therefore in the 12 months preceding the conflict, the increase was 30%. In the last month there was no increase in the price of 00 flour (-1%), which remains however, one of the products that has grown the most on an annual basis: + 33% between May 2021 and May 2022. And in fact the price of flour remains well above the level reached during the first lockdown in March 2020, when the shelves of flour they were empty and the yeast was nowhere to be found. The price of flour started to rise even before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and prices had already risen since last summer: between May 2021 and January 2022 (before the conflict) prices had already increased by 18% (in eight months). Between January 2022 and May 2022, prices increased further by + 13% (in 4 months). Due to the rising costs of raw materials, the price of semolina pasta has undergone a race to rise since last summer. Although with some slowdowns, this rush has continued to this day. In May 2021, a kilo of pasta was paid € 1.26, today an average of € 1.57: 25% more. In the last month the average price has not increased, but it is too early to say whether the price of this product has reversed the rising trend or not; in fact, it has already happened in recent months that some slowdowns have already occurred before new increases. Taking January 2022 as a reference (before the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine), today there is an increase of 7% more, even if between January 2022 and May 2021 the increase had already been considerable (+ 16 % in 8 months) In recent months there has been a rise in shelf prices also for extra virgin olive oil, and this increase continues today. A liter of oil was paid € 4.67 in April 2022, while today it is paid € 4.74: + 1% in a month. Compared to January 2022, the increase was 8% (in 4 months). Between May 2021 and January 2022, the increase had already begun: + 5% (in 8 months). International sugar prices rose rapidly at the turn of last summer and also hit consumer receipts. Between May 2021 and May 2022 the average price of this product increased by 12%. The increases began last summer and intensified during the fall and winter. Taking January 2022 as a reference, the increase in the last 4 months was significant (+ 4%), as well as the increase recorded between May 2021 and January 2022: + 8% in 8 months. there was a sharp increase in the prices of ground coffee that consumers buy in Iper, Super and Discount. In the last month, however, the price has not increased: comparing the average price of April 2022 with that of May 2022, a decrease of 3% can in fact be noted. However, this reduction was not enough to compensate for the increase in the previous months, and 11% more is spent than in May 2021. Although the international quotations of the raw material already showed not negligible increases for raw coffee, these increases did not affect the consumer who bought the coffee on the shelves. Between January 2022 and May 2022, however, the increase occurred and was significant (+ 10%). On the other hand, between May 2021 and January 2022, the increase was decidedly negligible (+ 1% in 8 months). For some months now, there have been tensions on the prices at the origin of milk (quotation at the stable), both in Italy and abroad, and the costs of feed are also increasing sharply. Until March, however, there were no major changes in retail prices for long-life milk. In recent months, however, there was an increase of + 2% between April and May 2022 and + 8% between May 2021 and May 2022. However, most of the increase is recent: between January 2022 and May 2022 the increase it was 6%. Between May 2021 and January 2022, the increase was 2% (in eight months). Among the products monitored, tomato sauce is among those that suffered the least from the rising trend. However, it is a product that families pay 6% more today than a year ago. Compared to January 2022, the increase was contained: + 2%, and substantially the same between May 2021 and January 2022 (+ 4% in eight months). Also for the price of courgettes there are increases compared to 2021. Last month Altroconsumo had reported a 32% increase (between April 2021 and April 2022). In May, this increase decreased, but nevertheless remains marked: + 19% between May 2022 and May 2021. The analysis of the prices of this product is not simple. It is a fresh product with a supply chain that can be affected by various problems, such as adverse climatic events but also difficulties in finding labor (as occurred in the Covid period) and higher costs for transport. For products like this, not all years are the same, and in the past there have been temporary increases in prices. As for bananas, prices had not significantly increased until the beginning of the year. Although it is a fruit that comes from afar, and on which tensions on the transport front and increases in fuels could have affected, until January 2022 bananas did not register increases in retail prices. However, an increase has already been noted since last month. The May figure confirms this trend: + 6% between May 2021 and May 2022. For the products selected by Altroconsumo, an average of € 16.60 was spent a year ago (May 2021). For the same products today (May 2022) families have to spend almost 20 euros (19.98 euros to be exact): it is 20% more (equal to 3.38 euros of difference). This increase in expenditure concerns only the product categories subject to monitoring, from which courgettes and bananas have been removed because they are too tied to the seasonality of the product. However, these are products that Italian consumers frequently put in their shopping cart, and the weight of these increases is also felt on the receipts. The table below compares how much the eight products have increased in percentage compared to last year, compared to last month and compared to the beginning of the year (ie before the start of the conflict).
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