Italians are spending €2 billion a year less on food, a figure that is expected to remain stable in 2014, according to a study by Unioncamere, Italy's chamber of commerce.
Six years of financial woe has drastically altered consumer spending habits, with Italians now spending more cautiously.
One Italian in two now buys “only the essentials”, according to the survey, and what they do buy is carefully chosen, with many buying directly from farmers' markets, for example.
The survey reports that Italians are now more attentive to promotions and special offers, and are growing more aware of waste.
Around 15 percent of Italian adults are now growing their own food, 17 percent of whom started in the last five years, coinciding with the economic downturn.
This has caused food prices to remain steady in Italy, with the survey predicting inflation of just 1.5 percent in 2014.
Ferruccio Dardanello, the president of Unioncamere, said: “The crisis has persuaded many Italians to try hard to find different ways to reduce the cost of food shopping, so that they can get their accounts to balance at the end of each month.”
The biggest cutbacks have been made on fizzy drinks and desserts, with Italians now less likely to splash out on 'treat' food items. Instead, they are getting back into the kitchen to bake cakes, a trend which the survey suggests may also be linked to rising unemployment, the survey suggests, which has left Italians with more time on their hands.
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