FEATURES » Italians forced to cut down on quality

Italians forced to cut down on quality

In times of economical recession people are forced to spend less. This time we talk about food, the Italian pride. The sad news is that Italians have spent this year more or less the same as last year but for lower quality products. In this way they managed to cope with austerity to the detriment of taste and health.

 According to Istat data more than 6 families out of 10 have cut on the quantity and quality of their food. The monthly expenditure remained substantially stable going from 477 Euros in 2012 to 468 Euros this year.  The number of those who have reduced the quality and / or quantity of food purchased (from 53.6% in 2011 to 62.3 in 2012) grow this year and also the number of people who bought at discount stores has grown from  10.5% to 12.3%. The unusual fact is that the purchase of bread and cereals, meat, milk, cheese and eggs, has been reduced compared with  an increase in spending for drinks.

In 2012, Italians spent, on average, 19.4% of the total, a percentage already increased from the previous year. This increase was observed mainly in the central regions, where food expenditure comes to represent 19.3% of total spending (it was 18.4% in 2011), while in the South it represented 25.3%.

Italian families were forced to reduce the quality and quantity of food purchase also by this year’s consistent price increase (+2.5%) which raised the percentage of families forced to implement strategies to curb expenditure from 53.6% to 62.3% this percentage, in the South, exceeds 70%. Increasing the families who choose hard-discount  stores for the purchase of food (from 10.5% in 2011 to 12.3% in 2012), mainly at the expense of supermarkets, hypermarkets and traditional shops. In the South, the percentage of families that buy at least a product  at hard-discount stores reaches 14.6% (from 13.1% in 2011), but the greatest increase is observed in the North, from 8.5% to 10.9%.

In 2012 the non-food expenditure decreased by 3%. The most affected sectors were clothing and footwear (-10.3%), furniture, appliances and household services (-8.7%) leisure and culture (-5.4%), while the costs for fuel and energy increased by 3.9%. In 2012, the Trentino-Alto Adige, in particular the province of Bolzano, is the region with the highest average monthly expenditure (€ 2,919), followed by Lombardy (2,866 euro) and Veneto (2,835 euro). The region with the lowest expenditure was Sicily, with an average monthly expenditure of € 1,628, about 1,300 Euros less than the Trentino-Südtirol.

Giulia Lombardo

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