Rome

'Food expenditure in Italy at 1979 levels'

'Dire financial straits' wind spending clock back to 1979

'Food expenditure in Italy at 1979 levels'

(ANSA) - Rome, September 25 - Italians are so hard up because of the economic crisis that they are spending the same amount on food as they did 33 years ago, consumers' association Codacons said on Tuesday. ''The fact that only discount supermarkets are holding up in terms of 2011 turnover means that Italians are in dire financial straits and are obliged to abandon the brand leaders of Italian food production that in the past have been a driving force of the economy in favour of cheaper products,'' said Codacons in a statement. ''The drop in food consumption began in 2007 and since then the fall has been unstoppable, bringing consumption to 1979 levels, or what it was 33 years ago''. Earlier in the day trade association Confcommercio announced that consumer spending would fall over 3% in 2012, the sharpest drop since the Italian republic was founded in 1946. Only the phone, computer and supermarket-discount sectors would hold up this year, it said.

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