Rome

Six out of 10 Italians cut spending on food

Sales fall even for staples like milk, oil and fish

Six out of 10 Italians cut spending on food

(ANSA) - Rome, September 26 - Hard economic times in Italy have induced six out of ten Italians to cut spending on foodstuffs - even staples like milk and oil - and to pay particularly close attention to prices they find as they fill their shopping carts. A study by the farmers' association Coldiretti found that 61% of Italians have consciously sought to slash their grocery bills recently. Purchases of milk, oil and fish have declined 7%, 5% and 4% respectively over last year, while spending on fruit, pasta and beef has dropped 1%. Big retail hypermarkets and supermarkets suffered respective sales falls of 3.1% and 1.1% and even discount food stores saw their sales fall 0.1%. The spending drop at discount stores is seen as particularly alarming as it may mean the poor are having to sacrifice on the quality of their nourishment. Researchers found surprising growth, however, in alternative sales channels, like door-to-door ethical and organic food groups or direct sales from local farms. Direct sales from food producers increased 23% over last year, researchers found. For its study, Coldiretti worked on data provided by the Italian statistics agency Istat.

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