Italy’s consumer spending in 2012 has dropped by nearly three percent, as the European country’s economy continues to fight recession.According to a recent report by the Italian bureau of statistics, Istat, more than 62 percent of Italian households cut back on food quality or quantity in 2012.
“Italians are saving on highly nutritious foods such as olive oil, meat, and fish, and this can be very detrimental to the health of kids and families. Today, paying less is more important than buying quality food, ” consumer association Federconsumatori’s Sergio Veroli said.As a result of hard economic times and high living costs, many Italians consumers are now shopping at discount stores. “The widening of the gap between rich and poor in Italy is becoming more evident by the day,” Veroli added. This is while Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has introduced anti-crisis measures aimed at improving the country’s economy. The package includes more than 80 measures, designed to tackle problems such as Italy’s growing unemployment. Italy is suffering from a growing jobless rate, which soared to 12 percent in April. This means that four in 10 people between the ages of 15 and 24 are unemployed. Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year. The European financial crisis began in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Spain. The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered massive demonstrations in many European countries.