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Italy FMCG Groups Agree to “Anti-Inflation” Deal With Government

Italy has reached an inflation-tackling deal for consumer goods, including food, after consultations between the government and industry groups.

A letter of intent signed earlier in September now comes into force in what was yesterday (28 September) dubbed an ‘anti-inflation quarter’ – running from October through December – by one of the FMCG associations involved in the talks, Federalimentare.

Another of those associations which formulated the letter of intent on 8 September, Italian Food Union, said the organisation had not issued an official statement.

However, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Minister Adolfo Urso, who heads up the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy (Mimit), which was spearheading the discussions, took to X to applaud the agreement.

Prime Minister Meloni tweeted: “With the anti-inflation pact, signed today by the government with 32 associations from the productive sector, another important initiative against the expensive trolley is taking place.”

She explained: “The associations signatory to the pact, which represent millions of companies, shops, supermarkets, pharmacies etc., undertake to keep the price of many basic necessities, food and non-food, for children and consumer goods, under control from October 1st until December 31st, therefore including the Christmas period.”

Meloni lauded the deal as having “great symbolic value” as organisations in Italy come together to combat inflation.

Along with Federalimentare and the Italian Food Union, Centromarca and the IBC associations were party to the initial letter of intent earlier this month in which they agreed to urge members to “identify initiatives aimed at counteracting the negative effects of inflation on consumers and families”.

They urged members to voluntarily develop – “in compliance with free competition” – measures “aimed at counteracting” inflation for the October-to-December period. And, “where it is considered practicable by the individual company from the point of view of its economic sustainability”.

“Voluntary” participation

Paolo Mascarino, the president of Federalimentare, said in a statement yesterday: “As Federalimentare, we are very pleased to have participated in the ‘anti-inflation quarter’ initiative to protect the purchasing power of families, a concrete sign of the value of collaboration between the institutions and the productive world.”

He added: “The letter of intent signed by us on 8 September is made operational, according to which companies in the food industry will be able to voluntarily join the plan to contain inflation in ways that respect market rules.

“In this regard, every company has the possibility to decide what to do in full autonomy and freedom, based on its own commercial strategies and the impact of inflation on its costs.”

Minister Urso described the agreement on X as an “alliance between government, distribution, industry, craftsmanship, cooperatives and the world of agriculture” encompassing 32 institutions.

He tweeted: “I am confident that this initiative will contribute to further reducing inflation, which, already in the first ten months of government, has more than halved, going from 11.8% in October 2022 to 5.4% in August 2023.

“Now is the time to concentrate efforts on the ‘shopping cart’, also in order to restore confidence in consumers and businesses, relaunch consumption and therefore the production system.”

Urso’s comments preceded today’s release of inflation figures for September from the Italian National Institute of Statistics.

The headline rate, measured by the consumer price index, eased to 5.3% on an annualised basis.

Prices of grocery products and unprocessed food cooled to 8.3% in the 12 months through September from 9.4%.

Individually, inflation for unprocessed food came down to 7.7% from 9.2%, while the cost of processed foods, including alcohol, edged down to 9.1%, from 10%.

Federalimentare president Mascarino said as part of the agreement inked yesterday every company within Mimit can sign up to a dedicated website to join the anti-inflation initiative.

“We confirmed to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and to ministers Adolfo Urso and Francesco Lollobrigida that Federalimentare will undertake to promote the widest participation of businesses, in the hope that the project will prove to be a success,” Mascarino said in his statement.

Source : Just Food