Italy's food producers soften stance towards govt's anti-inflation plan


(c) Reuters. FILE PHOTO : Penne Rigata Pasta of Italian Food Company Barilla is being offered in a supermarket owned by Swiss Retail Group Coop, Zumikon Switzerland, December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

By Giuseppe Fonte and Elisa Anzolin

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government secured some cooperation from producers’ associations in its battle against rising prices, it said on Friday, though the last word on binding commitments remained in the hands of individual companies.

High inflation is a headache for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s administration, which has agreed with supermarkets chains and small retailers steps to cap prices of essentials goods from October to December. Consumer goods associations, including those representing pasta maker Barilla and dairy group Granarolo, as well as confectionery maker Ferrero said they would ask their members to evaluate whether or not to join Rome’s campaign on an individual level. Adolfo Urso, Industry Minister, told reporters that he was “very satisfied” after a meeting held with the producers’ associations Centromarca Federalimentare Ibc e Unione Italiana Food.

Sources close to the government’s plans told Reuters on Aug. 3 that Rome was struggling to get industry associations on board.

France announced a similar initiative last month to curb inflation and singled out


(LON:), Nestle and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) as being among companies which it said were not “cooperating”.Researchers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wrote in June that rising corporate profits accounted for almost half the increase in Europe’s inflation over the past two years.Italy’s producers’ representatives agreed a letter of intent with Urso saying they would provide members with extensive information on any initiative developed by the government to step up the fight against the inflation.

“Companies that, on an individual basis, accept to promote such initiatives, will table proposals to big retailers,” the associations added in a statement.

Under the government-backed scheme, distributors should define a basket of food and non-food essential staples to which lowered prices apply, with basic necessities also including childcare and personal care products.

Retail stores taking part in the campaign would be marked with government window stickers in the green, white and red of the Italian flag with “anti-inflation quarter” written on it, a reference to the last three months of the year. The associations said that companies who accept to promote such initiatives will make proposals to big retailers.