© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Penne Rigata pasta from Italian food company Barilla is on sale at a supermarket owned by Swiss retail group Coop in Zumikon, Switzerland, on December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Archive photo
By Giuseppe Fonte and Elisa Anzolin
ROME (Reuters) – The Italian government secured some cooperation with producers’ associations in the fight against rising prices, it said on Friday, although the final say on binding commitments rested in the hands of individual companies.
High inflation is a headache for Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government, which has reached an agreement with supermarket chains and small retailers to cap prices for essential goods from October to December.
Consumer goods industry associations, including pasta maker Barilla, dairy group Granarolo and confectionery maker Ferrero, said in a statement they would ask member companies to consider on an individual basis whether they wanted to join Rome’s campaign.
“I am very satisfied,” Industry Minister Adolfo Urso told reporters after a meeting with producer associations Centromarca, Federalimentare, Ibc and Unione Italiana Food.
Sources familiar with the government’s plans told Reuters on August 3 that Rome was having difficulty getting industry groups on board.
France announced a similar initiative to curb inflation last month, naming Unilever (LON:), Nestle and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) as companies it said were not “cooperating.”
Researchers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wrote in June that rising corporate profits accounted for almost half of the rise in inflation in Europe over the past two years.
The Italian producer representatives agreed with Urso on a memorandum of understanding in which they would provide members with comprehensive information on all initiatives developed by the government to intensify the fight against inflation.
“Companies that agree on an individual basis to promote such initiatives will make proposals to major retailers,” the associations added in a statement.
Under the government-sponsored program, retailers should put together a basket of essential groceries and other essentials that are subject to lower prices, with basic necessities including children’s and personal care products.
Retail stores participating in the campaign would be marked with government window stickers in the green, white and red of the Italian flag that read “Anti-Inflation Quarter,” a reference to the last three months of the year.
Dealer associations will inform the government by September 23 which members have agreed to join the initiative.
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