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Pasta and Olive Oil Prices Are Spiking In Italy. Americans Are Feeling The Pain Too

3:08 PM EDT on June 1, 2023

bowl being poured with yellow liquid

Olive oil prices are up nearly 50 percent this year. Photo: Pixabay on

You may have noticed that the prices of two Italian food staples, pasta and olive oil, are higher than usual lately. A pasta cost crisis in Italy brought about by supply chain issues and inflation, and severe droughts throughout the olive-growing regions in the Mediterranean, are starting to have an effect in the United States.

The price of pasta in Italy has caused such alarm that the Italian government convened a crisis meeting last month. According to Reuters, Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso sought to monitor surging prices for pasta, which rose by more than double the national inflation rate. Reports have shown that consumers in Italy are seeing pasta costs rise by more than 17 percent from this time last year.

Meanwhile, droughts in Spain, Italy, and Greece, have led to a scarcity that has driven up the price of olive oil by more than 40 percent worldwide.

The most recent economic data for pasta prices shows rates of just under $1.50 per pound in the U.S. between February and April, up more than 20 cents per pound from 2022. 

“Prices are definitely up from last year,” says Louis Collucio, Jr. owner of A.L.C. Italian Grocery in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He attributes the rise in pasta and olive oil prices to a perfect storm of issues, including “transportation costs, fuel costs, labor costs, overhead—everything has gone up.”

Collucio, whose family owns D. Colluccio & Sons, an Italian specialty importer and retail shop in Brooklyn, says that while prices are noticeably higher, they may be “leveling a bit.” He attributes this not to an improving economic climate but to consumers pulling back on spending, resulting in companies lowering their prices. 

If that’s the case, economists angling for ways to curb inflation will be happy to hear it, as will budget-minded shoppers who love their pasta and olive oil.

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