Italy’s anti-trust authority has launched an investigation to determine whether the recent hike in pasta prices was the result of a secret price-fixing.
The probe is to determine if there was an accord between the Industrial Union of Pasta Makers (Unipi), representing 85 percent of Italy’s pasta production, and UnionAlimentare, the national union of small and medium-sized food producers. According to the anti-trust authority, the price rise ‘may have constituted a point of reference for the final product, leading individual producers to adopt a common strategy rather than compete against each other in view of higher prices for wheat and flour’.
Months ago, pasta makers announced that prices were on the rise due to the soaring costs of raw materials. They projected a 12- to 14-cent price increase in the coming months. However, immediate outcry from consumer rights associations led to a one-day pasta strike and general pasta boycott.
The probe, to be concluded by December 2008, was the result of a formal complaint by the consumer rights association Federconsumatori.