Italians choosing pasta over pizza

National Geographic has a series of interesting articles about the global food crisis. Basically, the high cost of food is changing behaviors around the world, from Japanese bars to the slums of Nairobi. According to the latest story, Italians are eating far less pizza and choosing pasta instead due to the rising cost of olive oil, mozzarella, and wheat flour. Pasta eating is on the rise. From National Geographic:
In fact, the number of Italians who say their favorite food is pizza has dropped from 14.1 percent to 8.7 percent in the past two years, according to a survey from GPF Research Institute, a private opinion poll company....

Olive oil and mozzarella, both vital components of traditional Neapolitan pies, cost more as well. Olive oil prices have risen 10.9 percent and mozzarella prices 14.3 percent since April 2007.

"That's mainly due to recent fluctuations in [the] oil market. We need it to warm greenhouses and cattle sheds, to fuel machines, to transport products, and we have to import all of it," said Sergio Marini, president of Coldiretti, the Italian farmers union. "Italian agriculture is deeply affected by international oil prices."

In total, pizza prices have gone up 13 percent since April 2007, according to Italy's National Institute for Statistics.
Pizza too expensive (National Geographic)


  1. This doesn’t make sense. Pasta is made from wheat flour too. And when you eat it, you tend to use lots of olive oil, and cheese. Pasta and pizza are basically the same food in different forms. And cooking pizza in a real Neapolitan oven uses wood or coal as fuel, not oil. Methinks there is some superficial reporting afoot here.

  2. Meh, at least Italians can afford to make a choice of some sort at least (like most of us in the Western world) – so not really a big deal on that score.

    It’s more interesting that Opec were asked by the G8 to pump more oil in order to off-set current high prices and the trend of buying oil to stock pile which is doing much to rapidly raise the price per barrel. The vast majority of Opec countries said ‘no’.

    Pumping more oil is not a solution long-term but it would help to relieve oil prices in an interim period and alleviate the trend of the hysterical rises in food and fuel costs world-wide.

    Instead, Opec predict that oil per barrel will cost $170 pretty soon. And they really do know!

  3. I’m not buying the theory that Italians are eating less pizza because it’s too expensive. If (as stated in the article), the mean price of pizza in a restaurant is now 7 Euros, that means before the 13% price rise described in the article, pizza cost 6.20 Euros. In a wealthy country like Italy, that’s not going to cause widespread abandonment of pizza.

    More telling, the article notes that fewer people list pizza as their favorite food. There’s absolutely no reason to assume that this has anything to do with the price rise – if the cost of steak or ice cream or apple pie rises, I may eat it less often, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t remain my favorite food.

  4. italy isnt a wealthy country. Its all about image, and they pull it off spectacularly.

    END OIL SPECULATION NOW. Wall st is really fucking us over with this bubble.

  5. OH NOES!!!!!!!!!
    It probably just means that (like us) Italians aren’t dining out as much as they used to ….
    all those checkered tablecloths going to waste ….
    OH NOES!!!!

  6. I too, am confused as to why wheat prices affecting pizza do not affect pasta as well. If anything, most pasta dishes in restaurants I know are fairly more expensive than pizza.

  7. I’m Italian and in my opinion the cost of material doesnt affect price of pizza or not so much. If you cook pizza at home, as we do, it doesn’t cost more than 3 or 4 euros per person (it depends on the ingredients you put on). If you go to a pizzeria the price isn’t less then 15 euros for a pizza and a beer… it doesn’t make any sense.
    The problem is that pizzeria owner are rising prices too much since euro was introduced and not in the last 2 years.
    Some years ago pizzeria restaurants were cheap and for every customers, especially teenager; now they are trying to rise their status, also using sophisticated ingredients (such as buffalo mozzarella or truffles); that’s why prices are higher.

  8. Pizza v Pasta

    Many are confused about why pasta should be less impacted by wheat prices. I suspect the following:

    In northern Italy, pizza is by-in-large a pizzeria/food excursion experience; while pasta is typically a home food in all parts of Italy. Naturally, there are price advantages to home cooking, no matter the material.

    Additionally, I would wager there are subsidies for basic “commodity foods” like pasta and bread (rather than their base ingredients), which make them competitive.

  9. The only way our sociopath-in-chief will swing into action on this issue will be if the cost of a pulled pork sammich goes up by a significant-like dollar amount.

  10. Why is it the president’s job to fix rising food prices? Is it so we can blame someone other than ourselves for our refusal to adopt less wasteful habits? Sometimes government intervention can actually exacerbate economic problems.

  11. @#6 Of course Italy is wealthy – its per capita GDP is $30,400; quite comparable with that of France ($33,200) or Germany ($34,200). In any event, certainly not a county whose citizens would be forced to abandon pizza because the mean price has risen .80 Euro.

  12. It might just be me but… I don’t really see the article calamining it’s due to a rise in the price of the ingredients. According to the article the actual cost of the ingredients is a minor part of the total cost, and the real surprise is that in the last seven years the cost of pizza has doubled not because of a ‘food crisis’ but because, as the article quotes, “Prices have been pumped up opportunistically, pizza being important in our eating habits and appealing to millions of tourists visiting our country.”

    Now where does the article claim: “Italians are eating far less pizza and choosing pasta instead due to the rising cost of olive oil, mozzarella, and wheat flour.”?? or is that this blogs ‘value add’? a half cocked wild assumption on peoples beliefs, reasoning, and spending habits? with nothing to back it up??? I’m very amused, keep up the good work! :D

    If the Bushies can get 10% of the population to think Obama is a Muslim and Iraq has WMD’s then you should be able to get at least 32% to think the price of pizza has gone up 100% in the last seven years… errr “since 9/11” … because of a rise in the price of grain…

    The question now is: Who’s to blame? You never seem to point the finger David, We know Cory is out after the RIAA & the TSA (and well.. the whole of the united states government…), Xeni is chasing after Unicorns, and Mark is looking for coffee, art & the parents dream… but what exactly is David of the ‘silent half’ looking for?

  13. Compare this headline to:

    “Italian choosing sushi over pizza, then taking all their clothes off”

    That’s a link I’d click on. I must be in the wrong reality again.

  14. the past year in nyc, we went from a generic slice being in the $1.50-$2 to a 2.25 – 2.75 a slice range. i basically stopped eating it.

    i think the US and Mexican prices have more to do with our braindead agricultural and energy policy with Corn and Ethanol. Dairy and cheese have been skyrocketing (meat too, though I’m vegetarian and could care less about that ) because corn that was traditionally used for animal feed has been diverted to ethanol production.

    We need to stop the mindless ethanol policies so that corn slated for human and livestock consumption isn’t diverted to ethanol for higher prices and subsidies. paying $4/gallon on gas instead of $10 sure sounds neat — but we’re paying far more annually because of food prices being driven up.

  15. Have you seen the price of cheese lately? In the past two years, cheese has just about doubled. Even at Trader’s Joes? So has pasta, but pasta costs a lot less and makes more meals.

  16. @mikey #12:
    If you’re referring to Bush, we don’t eat pulled pork barbecue in Texas. I assume you were insinuating that GWB would care about pulled pork BBQ because he’s Texan. We eat chopped brisket (beef) sandwiches here.

    Although you may have meant something completely different, I wanted to correct your regional barbecue error if you had indeed made one.

  17. i cant say i buy into this theory just yet. I mean… isnt it possible Italians are just trying to eat healthier and try to avoid fatty foods like pizza? I feel like this article lacks a certain… objectivity and scientific method. .8 euros? not to mention the euro seems to be doing very well.


    hi, i’m Italian

    up to now the real problem is the difference from real inflation and programmed inflation liked to Maastricht Rate, plus an uncontrolled rise of price under the changeover from Lira to Euro (thaks mr B.) have eroded the purchasing power of italians income, so many people stop to go to resturant.

    the cost of raw ingredient don’t affect the price of pizza/pasta/bread as mentioned in the article.

    the price for a pizza margherita:

    resturant 7€
    fast food / al taglio 2,5/3€
    take away 5€
    Frozen and ready-to-bake pizzas, i don’t eat that shit.

  19. The relationship between pizza and pasta is meaningless. I know it’s supposed to be funny, because everyone thinks Italians first created pizza, but that’s a huge lie. Everything with tomato sauce on it isn’t natively Italian.

  20. @Latente #26, you mean Europeans have economic policy too? That’s just crazy.

  21. “Anyone who says pizza and pasta have the same ingredients is doing pizza wrong.”

    Pasta dough – wheat flour, water, optional: olive oil, salt, egg

    Pizza dough – wheat flour, water, yeast,optional: salt, sugar

    Basic pasta sauce and garnish: tomato, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper; cow’s milk cheese (parmesan or pecorino,) basil

    Basic pizza topping and garnish: tomato, olive oil, cow’s milk cheese (mozzarella,) basil

    Dgh, snds t m lk y nd nc bg cp f STF.

  22. “That’s mainly due to recent fluctuations in [the] oil market. We need it to warm greenhouses and cattle sheds, to fuel machines, to transport products, and we have to import all of it,”

    Quite curious to see an olive tree or wheat cultivation in a greenhouse…

    Anyway in Italy prices nearly doubled when EURO has overruled LIRA so right now no one would give up pizza for pasta since the price has already skyrocket and 13% is not scaring anyone…

    A question for the italian “COLDIRETTI”: how is it possibile that a good pizza margherita (cooked by an italian chef) costs less in Tokyo than in central Rome? (I discovered this a couple of days ago while dinning out in Harajuku)

  23. Kyle @23:

    I think you shouldn’t assume he’s implying pulled pork is popular in Texas.

    I think you should assume he is implying it’s popular in Connecticut.

    After all, we all know Shrub is just a bad import from the north-east. (and yes, as a New Englander I am SO ASHAMED)


  24. @Seyo

    my god NO!

    Pizza from type 0 flour
    Pasta from Durum semolina

    if you use flour to make pasta you can use it
    as glue :P

  25. Yes, I know. It’s all from WHEAT though. That’s the point. Type 0, 00, semolina, are all different milling process of THE SAME BASE INGREDIENT. You’re not going to tell me that the energy used to mill flour to the finer 0 and 00 consistencies, as opposed to the coarser semolina, is that much greater.

  26. Oh, and I have made pasta from all purpose flour, semolina, whole wheat flour, italian typo 00, french t45, chickpea flour, farro flour, and none of them came “as glue.” Puuuhhleeeeeze *rolls eyes*

  27. Seyo (@3 and 35), you made the same points I was going to make.

    Also, the last time I purchased these items (and I do purchase them with some regularity), they were still quite affordable, despite all the panic about food prices.

    I love cooking, and I’d much rather eat pasta than pizza. I do not prefer my carbohydrates in bread form, although my local Andolini’s serves up a delicious pie.

    Thanks Boing Boing. Now I’m hungry.

  28. You can do a lot of stuff with pasta and most of the times pasta dishes are more healthy than the fat pizza dishes. I take pasta bolognese any day!

  29. In my perfect world, everything smells (and tastes) like meat.

    Goodness. I’d taste delicious….

  30. #35, SEYO:

    Yes, it is all wheat, but not all the same wheat. Durum wheat is a different species from bread wheat.

    As I understand it, Durum wheat is better suited to more arid climates; so southern Italy would be better able to produce Durum wheat than bread wheat.

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