We have noted previously that demand for ethanol feedstocks has driven up the price of beer in Germany, tortillas in Mexico and pasta in Italy; Yesterday the Italians demonstrated that they have had enought of high prices and went on strike.Consumer groups organized protests in Rome, Milan and Palermo—and even handed out free pasta, bread and milk to passers-by to help ease the pain for those who decided to support the strike and forego pasta purchases at supermarkets and restaurants. "Prices increase by five times between production and consumption," Toni De Amicis, a leader of Italian farm lobby Coldiretti, said during a protest in Rome. "The right recipe is to reduce the gap between production and consumption."
According to the Associated Press, economists and producers say pasta price hikes are being driven by increasing wheat prices worldwide. The demand for wheat is the result of several trends, chiefly an increasing demand for biofuels, which can be made from wheat, and improved diets in emerging countries where putting more meat on the table is raising the demand for feed for livestock, said Francesco Bertolini, an economist at Milan's Bocconi University. ::Mercury News