Pasta producers noodling with prices?

Marketplace Staff Oct 24, 2007


Doug Krizner: Back in college, spaghetti and marinara was always a good, cheap dinner. Boil some water, a little Ragu. Those were the days.

Pasta ain’t so cheap anymore. Blame it on wheat prices trading near record highs. In Italy, pasta prices are up 20 percent over the last few months. But there may be something else lurking behind this increase. Megan Williams reports from Rome.

Megan Williams: Italy’s antitrust authority has launched an inquest into two main Italian pasta producers’ associations. The probe opened after a consumer group accused the producers of price-fixing.

The group says that after the pasta producers’ met in Rome in September, prices uniformly rose by about 20 percent. It’s accusing the producers of colluding on price as the cost of grain and wheat rise.

The probe is the latest chapter in Italy’s recent pasta saga. In September, consumer groups staged a one-day “pasta strike” to protest rising food prices. They said the price of basic commodities were being driven up by middlemen, while farmers and producers made the same.

In Rome, I’m Megan Williams for Marketplace.

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