Economic crisis leaves a sour taste for Italians

Rome, Nov 25 ( The economic crisis has hit Italians where it hurts the most — their stomachs. New research shows that Italians are consuming more rice and pasta and less fish, meat, cheese and even wine.

The research was conducted by Format-Salute/La Repubblica on eating and spending habits and is to be presented at an annual food congress to be held in Rome Nov 26.

According to the data, fewer Italians are dining out. Only 20 percent of Italians eat at a restaurant once a week and 40 percent dine out once a month.

A total of 40 percent rarely or never dine outside the home.

But the research says most Italians have been forced to reduce their food consumption because of the rising cost of food and wine.

According to the data, the consumption of fish fell by 20 percent, meat by 11.6 percent, and wine by 25.8 percent.

At the same time, rice consumption has risen by 12.3 percent, pasta by eight percent and olive oil by 6.8 percent.

“Eating in a healthy way today is not always possible,” said Giorgio Calabrese, lecturer in human nutrition at the Catholic University in Piacenza, who will take part in the Rome congress.

“While the best food costs a lot, today even basic foods cost a lot.”

He said it was time for Italians to look at sourcing their food locally, buying food from farmers or breeders close to home.

Calabrese also said consumers should think about going to small supermarkets every couple of days rather than buying a large amount at a big discount supermarket every fortnight to minimise food wastage.