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Italy’s food producers soften stance towards govt’s anti-inflation plan


– Italy’s government secured some cooperation from producers’ associations in its battle against rising prices, it said on Friday, though the last word on binding commitments remained in the hands of individual companies.

High inflation is a headache for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s administration, which has agreed with supermarkets chains and small retailers steps to cap prices of essentials goods from October to December.

Consumer goods industry associations representing among others pasta maker Barilla, dairy group Granarolo and confectionery maker Ferrero, said in a statement they would ask member companies to assess on an individual basis whether to join Rome’s campaign.

“I am very satisfied,” Industry Minister Adolfo Urso told reporters after a meeting with producers’ associations Centromarca, Federalimentare, Ibc e Unione Italiana Food.

Sources close to the government’s plans told on Aug. 3 that Rome was struggling to get industry associations on board.

France announced a similar initiative last month to curb inflation and singled out Unilever (LON:), Nestle and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) as being among companies which it said were not “cooperating”.

Researchers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wrote in June that rising corporate profits accounted for almost half the increase in Europe’s inflation over the past two years.

Italy’s producers’ representatives agreed a letter of intent with Urso saying they would provide members with extensive information on any initiative developed by the government to step up the fight against the inflation.

“Companies that, on an individual basis, accept to promote such initiatives, will table proposals to big retailers,” the associations added in a statement.

Under the government-backed scheme, distributors should define a basket of food and non-food essential staples to which lowered prices apply, with basic necessities also including childcare and personal care products.

Retail stores taking part in the campaign would be marked with government window stickers in the green, white and red of the Italian flag with “anti-inflation quarter” written on it, a reference to the last three months of the year.

Distributors associations will inform the government by Sept. 23 which members had agreed to join the initiative.

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